July 18, 2011, 4:28 PM — Consumers planning to buy a smartphone in the next 90 days increasingly prefer Apple's mobile operating system, according to a new survey from The 451 Group's ChangeWave Research division.
The June survey of more than 4,000 consumers (89% of whom are in the U.S.) reveals that Apple's iOS is the preferred mobile operating system of 46%, up from 44% in a March survey.
The percentage of respondents planning to buy a smartphone in the next three months and who prefer and Android device, meanwhile, inched up to 32% from 31% in March.
These numbers reflect a big change from the December survey, in which Apple's iOS and Android were virtually tied (36% to 35%, respectively).
Boosting interest in Apple's iOS is the company's recently announced iCloud service, which stores data remotely and allows owners of Apple devices to retrieve it via wireless.
ChangeWave reports that 29% of Apple product owners surveyed say the new service -- slated to debut in the fall -- make them more likely to buy Apple products going forward. (One can presume that most of the other 71% would buy Apple products regardless of iCloud.)
Even better for Apple, 13% of non-Apple product owners say iCloud makes them more likely to embrace the Reality Distortion Field. From ChangeWave:
[T]he survey...provides highly encouraging signs that iCloud will generate additional customer demand for other Apple products, not only from current Apple product owners but from a substantial numbers of non-owners as well.
The percentage of respondents who say they prefer Research in Motion's BlackBerry mobile OS slipped to 4% from 5% in March.
With 18% left for "others," you have to wonder why ChangeWave still bothers to break out RIM's numbers. I'd be curious to see if Windows Phone 7 is close to (or even exceeds) the BlackBerry mobile OS in terms of consumer preference in June.
In December 2008, the BlackBerry topped ChangeWave's survey with 32% respondent preference, with the relatively new Android at 4%. That was 2 1/2 years ago, but it may as well have been 1,000 years.
ChangeWave's survey also asked current smartphone owners about their level of satisfaction with their devices. Once again, Apple came out on top with 70% of iPhone owners reporting they are "very satisfied." Android was runner-up with a 50% "very satisfied" rating. In third place (this has gotta hurt, RIM) was the WIndows Phone 7 OS with 27%, edging out RIM at 26%.