Is the iPhone Falling From Users’ Grace?

Owners of Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhones might be some of the most satisfied device owners around, but that trend may slowly be changing. People aren’t quite as happy as they once were.

The American Customer Satisfaction Index conducts surveys with 70,000 participants looking at 230 companies, 43 industries, 10 economic sectors, and more. The ACSI recently published the results of its latest survey and showed Apple’s weakening grip on the throne.

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The survey has participants rate devices, companies, or services with scores between 0 and 100, with 100 indicating the highest level of satisfaction. In 2012, Apple’s iPhones scored 83 points, making it the most satisfying smartphone on the market according to the survey. However, in 2013, the iPhone only scored 81 points. This could be connected to the sales growth slowdown that Apple experienced with its iPhones in the last quarter. Interestingly enough, Apple’s other devices — laptops, desktops, and tablets — scored 86 points, showing that the ever-popular iPhone isn’t keeping up with Apple’s standards.

As the iPhone slips down, it will have to worry about competitors making their way up. Apple may have a wide lead of at least 4 points on any competitor, but some are making quick moves. Motorola (NASDAQ:GOOG) leapt five points from 2012 to 77 points in 2013. If it earned another five points in the next survey, it would come out on top of Apple’s iPhones.

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Nokia (NYSE:NOK) inched up by one point to 76 points, tying with Samsung (SSNLF.PK). However, Samsung was the biggest mover of the bunch. It had scored 69 points in 2012, but the Galaxy S 3′s popularity aided in bringing the company up seven points to its 2013 rating of 76 — though the company’s cheaper smartphones might have been keeping its score down, considering competitors like Apple only produce high-end devices. If the Galaxy S 4 can do anything similar, Samsung could quickly reach the top of the ladder and push Apple down to second place.

Bringing up the rear were LG Electronics and BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY). LG lost 4 points, dropping it down to 71. BlackBerry’s score didn’t change any from 2012 to 2013, but it remained at the bottom of the barrel with 69 points.

Perhaps tied in with some of the improving smartphone maker scores are the improvements of wireless carriers. The index for all mobile carriers increased by two points between 2012 and 2013, reaching 72 points. Interestingly enough, it was the smaller carriers that were at the top, with 78 points. Of the major carriers, Verizon (NYSE:VZ) was at the top with 73 points, up from 70. Sprint (NYSE:S) followed up with 71 points, steady from 2012. AT&T (NYSE:T) gained 1 point to reach 70, and T-Mobile (NYSE:TMUS) dropped 1 point to hit 68, making it the lowest of the pack.

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Improvements from wireless carriers might have given consumers better impressions of their smartphones, though the opposite could also be true.

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