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Survey: iPhone Users Find It Too Darn Hard to Switch

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News Posted: Mon, Nov 28 2011 1:15 PM
Have you ever tried talking your Apple-loving buddy into getting an Android smartphone or a Windows Phone 7 device? You'd have a better chance of selling ice to an Eskimo, a point that's underscored in a new international survey conducted by the GfK Group. According to the survey, nearly one in five consumers who own both an iPad and an iPhone believe that it's more difficult to switch smartphones than it is to change bank accounts, gas companies, or electric providers.

This feeling of brand loyalty grows as the number of installed apps increases, and it applies to all ecosystems, not just Apple's.


"As consumers build digital ecosystems and their own world of content on handsets, the study shows that their loyalty to their smartphone brand increases with the number of apps and services they use. The research reveals that the tipping point for loyalty is when a consumer uses seven or more services on their device," GfK Group says.

Familiarity also plays a big role. Some 72 percent of respondents said they find it easy to access their device's applications and navigate the menu system, which makes the prospect of switching platforms a sometimes daunting one.

The report points states the primary barriers to switching relate directly to user experience:  (source: GfK Group)
  • 33% - of respondents cited disrupting their current smartphone set-up (i.e. the apps and features I use)
  • 29% - having to learn how to use another type of smartphone
  • 28% - having to move their  content (music, video, books, apps) from one type of smartphone to another
"As smartphones become more advanced, creating a smooth and high quality user experience is a complex task, but despite this, 71 percent of smartphone customers believe the services and features on their devices work seamlessly with each other," GfK Group says. "The more services a consumer uses on a device, the more tightly integrated they feel the features and functions are, indicating that well executed service and hardware integration are having a positive effect on consumer loyalty."

Would you be willing to switch platforms when your smartphone contract expires, or will you stick with the same ecosystem?
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jonation replied on Mon, Nov 28 2011 1:20 PM

the funny thing is: the UI patterns of iOS are pretty unintuitive minus the swipe gesture. And they keep adding more!
I mean hold down and everything shakes (to re-arrange) then pushing another, different button to go back into normal mode.

I guess its another case of QWERTY

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bry2k2 replied on Mon, Nov 28 2011 1:27 PM

Which adds evidence to my theory of most "i" users are simple minded people who don't even use their "i" devices to their full potential.

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rapid1 replied on Mon, Nov 28 2011 1:29 PM

One of the things I said to Sarah last night when we saw an iPod touch commercial for young teenagers is that Apples most brilliant thing in the last 3 years has been the advertising. Think about it the iPod came out and Apple has been positive, and why? Well the first people to get iPod were kids, the obvious upgrade as they got older was an iPod Touch, then the iPod touch went wireless. Therefore every kid that got an iPod initially as they get older and are already used to the iOS way of doing things and move through this path with the obvious key in from WIFI ot Cellular being wireless the Teens get an iPhone as that's what there used to using (iOS). It is an absolutely wonderful marketing plan!

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"Can't blame them, I switched because a carrier , not the Iphone. To answer your question about sticking to the current ecosystem and carrier, yes I am sticking to it, I use the BB service, and I wouldn't change it, but I will try a new phone. Got to play with the GSII and I loved it."

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LLeCompte replied on Mon, Nov 28 2011 1:56 PM

Two of my friends switched from the iphone to a android phone. One already went back to the iphone because he had a upgrade, the other is using miui on his inspire. Apple fans are more loyal to their i devices than they are to their own family or country. Then again most people dont like change.

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RF9 replied on Mon, Nov 28 2011 4:29 PM

I admit I'm one of those that hasn't switched for many of the reasons listed in this article. Quite frankly I just have too much invested in apps and content on the iPhone and I have to start over from scratch if I switched to Android finding the same or similar apps. That's also the reason I don't switch to Windows Phone 7 because I know if there simply aren't a lot of the same apps available yet.

There are other reasons. There has 't been any Android phones yet that I like and I've been waiting for Android to mature (ICS may finally be it.). The Nexus Prime may be the first hardware for me. And I would want a Nexus because I don't want 3rd party skins/UI. I want the pure Google experience. I also want to get upgrades right away. I don't want to have to muck with 3rd party ROMS.

I really just miss some of the power user flexibility that Android offers that I once had on WM5. But I don't have money to burn and I only get upgrades every 18 months so it's a commitment that I'd have to be confident making.

I keep thinking that eventually Android/hardware will one day be so tempting that my next upgrade will win me move but until now it hasn't been the case. I really like the iphone and it does most of what in I want very well.

So like so many others, it'll be disruptive to switch and I'd have to be convinced that it's worth it.

I hope Android keeps getting better to the point that it's a no brainer.

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I will say it now I hate Android period!!!!!!!!! I wanted to like Android so bad cause I refused to be an Apple fanboy but after owning the Samsung Captivate it has ruined my experience.

Apple products just work, yea people wine and complain about it not being an open interface yadda yadda it works!

My Android is horribly sluggish the buttons are a joke along the bottom as they are easy to tap or brush with your finger when setting your device down.

Apple has "1" simple home button that's all one needs. I feel passionate about this when my contract is up Im buying an I-Phone. They are the best hands down!!!!!!!!!! It is what it is.

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RF9 replied on Mon, Nov 28 2011 4:55 PM

I meant Galaxy Nexus (not Nexus Prime.)

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RF9 replied on Mon, Nov 28 2011 5:02 PM

@ThnderBird.  I want to say that part of your experience might have been tainted by a piece of hardware, not Andriod itself (though I could be wrong.)  Android is moving away from physical buttons and the captivate isn't a great phone.  Joshua Tupolsky of the Verge says that if you turn on hardware deceleration on the Galaxy Nexus, it's buttery smooth.  Certainly not a perfect situation (perfect would be buttery smooth on most hardware out of the box.)  Also the new Andriod Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0) is much improved over the older version that you used.

I'm sure it sucked then with that device.  And for that I agree that this is the reason I never switched to Android previously.  My point is that Android has improved, so has the hardware and it's quite possible that as of today the experience is more on-par between iPhone and Android each having it's slight advantages.

But I will agree that the iPhone just works.  And that it does and works well.  It does what I need and does it well, no tweaking required and I have to say my days of tweaking my phone are over.  I've done it for years and it gets old.

I think that is another reason people are reluctant to try switching.  If you have an iPhone you know it works, works well, you like it.  Quite simply if it's not broken why try to fix it and to most iPhone owners, it's not broken.  Pretty much when I get fed up with something in iOS they add that feature and keep me happy (like the notification center most recently.)

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As an Android user I can definitely say that switching would be difficult. Every time someone hands me an iPhone to connect their corporate e-mail or something. I don't know where to go very easily lol and stumble around a bit even though I eventually get it.

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Manduh replied on Mon, Nov 28 2011 7:15 PM

I don't use a cell phone but when I did it was an iPhone, I had it for a couple of years then I switched to a regular cell before getting rid of them all together. I didn't find it that hard at all, but mind you I still had access to all my apps on my iPod :S And now on my iPad...

As for my iPad, I'd switch no problem as long as the apps I use constantly were available for the tablet I switched to. Most likely I'd switch to an Android if I had the option, since their app selection is the next best out there.

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Thanks RF9 I appreciate your response. I did not mean to go off like that but yea my experience for now is ruined.

Again I just like how Apple is a no hassle no fuss device just use it.......it works. I don't need to root it or jail break it, all that's fun and geeky but for me I need a phone that simply works.

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I've used iOS and Android products, and even Windows Phone (my cousin even got one and she loves it) but I'm not into smartphones anymore.

In 2011 I believe there are enough alternatives for most users to AVOID being tied down/married to one walled-garden platform. Being tied down is good for corporations to make more $$$ off you, bad for you.

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jonation replied on Tue, Nov 29 2011 7:38 PM

it's only hassle free for a year. unless you buy that applecare,which i highly suggest since apple devices have failed within the first year or into the second in my experiences almost 20 devices now. (post '08 devices, mostly MBPs)

I'm on iPhone #3 and the tactile response is going on this one (thanks for the refurb!) half the time it wont unlock when i swipe. Vibrate switch broke (on all 3). I use a very padded case and don't really drop it ever.

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94_xj replied on Fri, Dec 2 2011 2:55 AM

It is difficult to switch platforms once you get used to how stuff operates. I went from a Blackberry to an Samsung Fascinate and it took about a week for me to get used to the way the phone worked but it really wasn't a painful process at all.

However the iDiots do seem quite attached to their products for reasons not even they seem to know...but they always need the next thing that comes out that has a lower case "i" on it.

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RF9 replied on Fri, Dec 2 2011 3:28 AM

Don't be such a freakin' geek.  iDiots?  Really!?  What are you, 12 years old?  It has less to do with getting used to how stuff works and more to do with potentially hundreds of dollars worth of apps and videos that you can't take with you to the other platform not to mention the effort trying to find the same or apps to replicate your library.  That's something you as a Blackberry user would know nothing about.  Furthermore your "iDiots" happen to be very satisfied with Apple products because they're made well.  They know exactly why they choose to stay with what they like an what works best for them.

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