The Apple iPad received top honors in J.D. Power and Associates' first study on tablet satisfaction in the United States. While Samsung has emerged as Apple's primary adversary, it was instead the Amazon Kindle that took second place, while Samsung was rated third with a score below the industry average.
The nearly 2,000 tablet owners in the survey gave Apple a score of 848 out of 1,000 points, for a five-circle rating the firm translates to mean "among the best."
The Amazon tablet scored 841 out of 1,000, for a four-circle "better than most" rating, while Samsung earned an 827 and three circles, indicating it's "about average."
The study considered, in order of importance, performance, ease of operation, styling and design, features and price. It also found the devices to be changing the way people consume digital content.
"As tablet computing, multimedia, display and application offerings continue to evolve, their impact on usage patterns will continue to grow," Uma S. Jha, senior director of mobile devices at J.D. Power and Associates, said in a Sept. 13 statement. "Tablets are a force in the marketplace that offer a great alternative to laptops and netbooks."
The study found that "tablet owners spend 7.5 hours per week browsing the Internet, watching videos, listening to music and reading books on their device, compared with spending 9.6 hours per week on a PC for the same activities."
It also found that the more hours per week that users spent watching video, the more satisfied they said they were with their tablets. Those who watched more than three and half hours of video per week, and so were "highly satisfied" with their devices, were also more likely-90 percent, versus 80 percent-to say they'd purchase another tablet from the same brand. They were also more likely to purchase other electronics from the brand.
Everyone in the study had owned their tablets for less than two years, and more than one-third said they planned to purchase another tablet within the next 12 months.
Three-quarters of respondents said they alone decided which brand to buy, 61 percent said they share their tablet with another person, and 25 percent said they use their tablets for business tasks.
J.D. Power added that tablet owners with smartphones spend 40 percent more time browsing the Internet on their tablets than on their smartphones and 56 percent more time using gaming apps on their tablets than on their phones.
Apple introduced the iPhone 5 Sept. 12, as well as an update to iTunes that will begin shipping in October-when analysts expect that Apple will, for the first time, introduce a smaller iPad.
On Sept. 6, Amazon introduced a new lineup of Kindle Fire HD devices, which included a 7-inch tablet for $199. "We hope people will agree that Kindle Fire HD is the best high-end tablet anywhere, at any price," said Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.
Samsung currently offers a variety of tablet sizes, and recently shared that it will bring its new Galaxy Note II to the United States later this year. The device features a 5.5-inch display, up from the 5.3 inches on the original Note, and comes with the S Pen, a sort of re-imagined stylus that's the differentiator between Samsung's Galaxy Tab tablet line and the Notes, which-despite their size-Samsung considers smartphones.
Samsung recently shared that in a matter of months it sold more than 10 million Galaxy Note devices.
During the second quarter of this year, Apple shipped 17 million tablets, while Samsung shipped 2.4 million, Amazon shipped 1.3 million, Asus shipped 855,000 and Acer shipped well under half a million, according to IDC.
In the J.D. Power study, Samsung was followed by Acer, which received a score of 811; Barnes and Noble, with a score of 803; and Hewlett-Packard, which scored 790. The latter three all received two-circle ratings suggesting they are "about average."