It’s a sad day for the marketing department in Cupertino. While Apple has frequently cited the iPad’s position at the top of J.D. Power’s customer satisfaction survey for tablet owners as a part of the company’s publicity for its tablet, the iPad’s reign at the top of the charts has come to an end, as Apple rival Samsung took top marks in the survey.
The two companies are separated by a scant two points on the survey’s 1,000 point scale, with Apple earning 833 points, and Samsung earning 835 points. J.D. Power’s last study in April showed Apple with a commanding 836 points to Samsung’s 822. Samsung’s acceleration also means that Amazon is sitting in third with 826 points, three points below its April score of 829.
According to J.D. Power’s press release, Samsung made up the gap by being the only manufacturer to improve in all of the measures that the survey tests, but its biggest gains came from a 25-point jump in the cost category, where it clearly leads Apple’s more costly offerings. That said, Samsung didn’t win on cost alone, since the price of a tablet is actually weighted the lowest in J.D. Power’s model, comprising only 16 percent of a device’s final score, while performance makes up 26 percent of its point total.
All that said, it seems Samsung’s timing may have given it a small advantage over Amazon and Apple. Its Galaxy Note 8.0 and 10.1 tablets were released earlier this year which made them eligible for inclusion in the survey, compared to the Kindle Fire HDX, which was unveiled late last month, and the iPad Air, which goes on sale tomorrow. Neither Amazon or Apple’s new offerings were eligible for inclusion in the survey, which ran from March to August of this year.
It’s also entirely possible that the shift was caused by changes in market share. Samsung continues to grow its tablet sales, and there are just more people out there with Samsung tablets for J.D. Power to survey than there have been in the past.
No matter what the reason, one thing is clear: the tablet market is heating up, and companies have to step up their game.
Blair Hanley Frank is GeekWire’s Bay Area Correspondent. He has also worked for Macworld, PCWorld and TechHive. He can be found on Twitter @belril.