J.D. Power's annual U.S. Wireless Customer Smartphone Satisfaction Study is out, and perhaps unsurprisingly, Apple is on top yet again, followed by HTC, which ranked just above the industry average. Nokia and Palm came in last, with just around 700 points on a 1,000 point scale. That's all well and good, but the portion of the study that's making the headlines is a troublesome one: J.D. Power claims that "satisfaction levels with battery performance differ widely between owners of 3G- and 4G-enabled smartphones."
Now, it's certainly been documented that the current crop of LTE devices, in particular, don't get as much battery life as their HSPA and EV-DO counterparts, regardless of which chipsets they use... but it's hard to trust that the 7,080 respondents in J.D. Power's panel knew whether their device was truly "4G". After all, our cellular carriers and device manufacturers often don't know the difference (or choose to ignore it) themselves, and if customers buy a device with the word "4G" on the box, how are they to know any better? Secondly, we're assuming those consumers knew that 4G referred to networking at all. We've definitely heard owners of the iPhone 4 and 4S refer to their device as "4G" figuring the "G" stood for "generation of phone." Of course, we've also heard owners claim their devices are faster "because they have more megapixels."
Lastly, though we're assuming that J.D. Power did find a significant difference between the two groups, the difference measured was only 0.6 points on a 10-point scale. We're definitely hoping for LTE devices that last longer (and don't have to cram in extra battery like the new iPad) but we're wary of drawing a meaningful general conclusion from these results.