To push that date further into the future, smartphone makers must continue to meet customer expectations. "Providing an easy-to-use, yet powerful operating system with the ability to customize applications to suit individual needs is essential to providing a high-quality and rewarding wireless experience," Parsons said.
J.D. Power does not disclose results of individual smartphone models, but instead rates brands. That gives Apple an advantage of sorts, Parsons acknowledged, since it makes and sells only the high-end iPhone. Other brands -- he singled out Samsung -- have a much larger portfolio that includes handsets at a broader price spectrum, with a corresponding wider range of features.
"Samsung tries to satisfy the entire marketplace," Parsons said. "But you will find some models that are competitive [with the iPhone] on an individual basis."
The latest poll was conducted between July and December 2012, a stretch during which Apple sold 2011's iPhone 4S and launched the newest model, the iPhone 5.
Other satisfaction surveys during that period also put Apple at the top of the list. ChangeWave Research's latest numbers, from polls conducted in November 2012, had iPhone satisfaction at 71% -- a combined percentage of those who said they were very or somewhat satisfied -- while those powered by Microsoft's Windows Phone OS came in second with 53%. Smartphones running Google's Android was third with 48%.
Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, on Google+ or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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