iPhone Customer Satisfaction Tracker

January 29, 2024
Wally Nowinski
editor
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iPhone 15 Pro Satisfaction Continues to Lag Behind other iPhone 15 Models

Jan 2024 Update

User reviews in January showed customer satisfaction for the iPhone 15 Pro continues to be significantly lower than for other models in the iPhone 15 family. PerfectRec first noticed this trend in our initial report on iPhone 15 Satisfaction published last October. It’s worth noting that it’s unusual for the Pro model to have lower satisfaction ratings than the base model iPhone. Historically, Apple’s Pro model, which comes packed with the latest new features and best camera, have enjoyed higher customer satisfaction than the base model. With the iPhone 15 family that reversed for the first time. 

Initially, Apple faced a lot of complaints about overheating issues with the iPhone 15 Pro. In October, 2023, 15% of all negative reviews mentioned overheating issues. By January, that had fallen to just 1%. 

Percent of negative iPhone 15 reviews (1-3 stars on a 5-star scale) mentioning overheating

Month

Overheating %

Sep 2023

13.1%

Oct 2023

14.5%

Nov 2023

4.8%

Dec 2023

3.5%

Jan 2024

1%

Despite the fact Apple seems to have addressed the overheating issue, iPhone 15 Pro satisfaction remains 12 percentage points below the iPhone 15 base model. To get a sense of what might be going on we ran language and sentiment analysis on negative reviews (1-3 stars on a 5 star scale) left at a range of retailers over the last month.

Here are some of the themes from negative iPhone 15 Pro reviews left over the last 30 days.

  • Complaints about poor battery life.

  • Disappointment with the small, incremental upgrades from the 14 Pro and earlier models. 

  • Complaints about the physical design, including camera lens protrusion making it hard to lay the phone flat.

Earlier this month BGR reported an increase in complaints on Apple support and Reddit forums about the iPhone 15 Pro having sharp edges. So far, this hasn’t shown up in Google and retailer user reviews, but we will be keeping an eye on this trend over the coming weeks.

Our initial study of iPhone 15 satisfaction from October, 2023 found that the 15 Pro had the lowest customer satisfaction of any premium iPhone ever. Since then, the proportion of customers rating the iPhone 15 Pro 5-stars has decreased from 72% to 68%.

Other models

The iPhone 15 Pro wasn’t the only model that saw lower customer satisfaction in January. The percent of purchasers leaving five star reviews declined for all iPhone models from December. The largest month-to-month decrease was for the iPhone 15 Plus, which is generally the best-reviewed model of this generation. The month-to-month decline in satisfaction was statistically significant (p < 0.05 using a proportions test) for all iPhone 15 models. 

Month

iPhone 15

iPhone 15 Plus

iPhone 15 Pro

iPhone 15 Pro Max

Sep 2023

68.2

70

73.5

77

Oct 2023

77.2

80

71.4

77.2

Nov 2023

74

76.7

62.6

70.6

Dec 2023

79.4

80

68.2

75

Jan 2024

78.1

73.5

66.1

72.5

Early Adopters and Upgrade Cycles

Our iPhone Satisfaction Tracker is a cross section that looks at product reviews left across a range of retailers in a given month. It’s not a panel study that tracks how a fixed group’s opinion of the iPhone changes over time. 

Because of this, we suspect there might be some compositional effects based on who is buying the phone and when. For example, people who leave a review in September, the month the new iPhone was released, are probably more likely to be early adopters and frequent upgraders than those who leave reviews in July or August. They likely have a different frame of reference  perspective on what to expect from a new iPhone and might also have more familiarity with recent models.

For example, our analysis of negative iPhone 15 Pro reviews from January, five months after the phone was released, found many consumers complaining about the large lens protrusions on 15 Pro. If they had been upgrading from a 14 Pro, it is unlikely they would have made this complaint since the form factor hasn’t changed. This perhaps suggests that the people who left reviews in January following Christmas were less frequent upgraders than early adopters who eagerly purchased a new iPhone shortly after release in September.  

We suspect the early adopter phenomenon might also be responsible for the large changes in satisfaction rates on the iPhone 15 and 15 Plus models between September and October. They may have had higher expectations for the phones and been somewhat disappointed by incremental upgrades than people who bought later in the cycle and may have been upgrading from older models.

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iPhone Customer Satisfaction Tracker

The iPhone is one of the most successful consumer products in history, but that doesn’t mean everybody loves it or that every single model gets a rapturous reception. At PerfectRec, we are obsessed with tracking and understanding customer review data since that is part of making accurate product recommendations. 

We decided to start sharing the review data we gather from Google to help power inform our phone recommendations publicly since iPhone satisfaction is an interesting topic to a lot of people and the satisfaction numbers that Apple shares on its quarterly earnings calls are, quite frankly, not credible

Our hope is that tracking iPhone satisfaction over time will help give consumers, reporters, and enthusiasts a more accurate picture of how users are reacting to the iPhone and give context to complaints and problems that inevitably arise. 

The PerfectRec iPhone Satisfaction Tracker will be updated monthly and will track the current model year. In the future, we will include monthly comparisons to previous generations. 

Methodology

  • We scrape Google reviews for each iPhone model submitted by a range of merchants, including Best Buy, Verizon, AT&T and others. 

  • Overall satisfaction is presented as percent of reviewers that give the product five stars on a five-star scale.

  • Ratings are for the lowest storage configuration available for each model, since these are generally the best selling options and have the most reviews.  

About PerfectRec

PerfectRec is a personalized product recommendation site. We ask you simple questions and use a combination of human experts and machine learning to recommend the perfect products for your unique needs.

About the PerfectRec Reviews Team 

The iPhone Satisfaction Tracker is put together by the PerfectRec Reviews Team. 

Joe Golden, Ph.D - Economist & PerfectRec CEO

Joe is an entrepreneur and lifelong electronics enthusiast with a Ph.D in Economics from the University of Michigan.

Nick Landia, Ph. D - Chief Data Scientist

Nick is a machine learning expert with a Ph.D in recommendation systems from the University of Warwick.

Chandradeep Chowdhury - LLM Expert & Software Engineer

Chandradeep is a software engineer and expert in LLM-aided user review analysis. 

Wally Nowinski  - Editor 

Wally is our data visualizations editor, with a background in politics and journalism. You can find his work cited in Fortune Magazine, 9to5Mac, Business Insider, Linus Tech Tips and  many other publications. 

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