JD Power tablet rankings (Apple vs Samsung)

With the release of new iPhones and iPads, Apple has retired the somewhat defensive ‘Why iPhone’ and ‘Why iPad’ web campaign. It makes sense: Tim Cook & Co. probably think others should now defend themselves against the new iPhone 5s and iPad Air.

Fans will recall both of Apple’s web pages gave undecided customers plenty of reasons to consider an iPhone and iPad over competing products, citing – among other reasons – rampant Android malware and high satisfaction scores by J.D. Power.

On the other hand, the removal of J.D. Power scores from Apple’s web site could easily have everything to do with J.D. Power’s last week tablet scores giving Samsung the top tablet ranking even though the South Korean company won only on price.

The results of that survey have sparked a heated debate and prompted some tough questions among the Apple faithful because the iPad clearly bested Samsung in all of the remaining five categories: Overall Satisfaction, Performance, Ease of Use, Physical Design and Tablet Features.

And now in a seeming PR damage control maneuvering, J.D. Power is attempting to defend the indefensible by claiming the survey wasn’t botched and arguing the rankings hold up – even if the reputable research firm’s actual explanation is pretty bizarre, to say the least…

As I wrote on Twitter three days ago, Samsung won only in the price category while Apple slightly edged out its competitor in more important metrics such as Performance and Ease of Use.

Yet, despite the lower scores in all but one category (again, price), J.D. Power gave Samsung Apple’s crown in its 2013 U.S. Tablet Satisfaction Study – Volume 2.

The iPad maker finished a mere two points behind Samsung with a score of 833.

So, what’s going on here?

According to J.D. Power’s response, the highest overall score determines the winner:

In this study, the score is comprised of customer’s ratings of five key dimensions or factors. To understand the relative rank of brands within each of these five dimensions we provide consumers with PowerCircle Rankings, which denote the brand that has the highest score within each factor regardless of how much higher their score is.

In the case of Apple, although they did score higher on four out of five factors measured, its score was only marginally better than Samsung’s. At the same time, however, Apple’s score on cost was significantly lower than that of all other brands. As such, even though its ratings on other factor was slightly higher than Samsung’s, Apple’s performance on cost resulted in an overall lower score than Samsung.

I’m not buying the argument.

According to J.D. Power’s press release, price was the least important factor in that study. The five key factors in their order of importance: performance (26 percent), ease of operation (22 percent), styling and design (19 percent), features (17 percent) and cost (16 percent).

iPad Air Facetime

The 2013 U.S. Tablet Satisfaction Study–Volume 2 was fielded between March and August 2013 and is based on experiences evaluated by 3,375 tablet owners who have owned their current device for less than one year.

The company wouldn’t release the actual scores and weightings to prove its point, leaving room for speculation. It’s true that Apple only narrowly beat Samsung in some of the categories, but what about the Performance and Ease of Use scores where Apple won hands down with a two-circle difference in each category?

Though refusing to show the actual scores, J.D. Powers survey manager Kirk Powers described the process as follows:

  1. Compare index scores by brand for each factor
  2. This generates an index gap score for each factor
  3. The index gap score for each factor is multiple by that factor weight
  4. This produces the net index score diff between brands for each factor
  5. Add up all net index scores and you generates the overall gap index score difference between brands

Concerning pricing, Matthew Panzarino of TechCrunch noted that Apple charges twice the Samsung amount to double the onboard iPad storage, a hundred bucks versus $50 for Samsung. Also important, Apple rarely discounts its tablets, which can’t be said for Samsung which tends to bundle free tablets with its other more expensive products as a way to grow sales.

One thing’s for sure – you won’t be seeing JD Power endorsement on Apple’s web page going forward.

Why iPad (JD Power iPad best tablet of 2012)

Back in April, Apple topped JD Power’s tablet satisfaction scores for the second time.

Specifically, the iPad came in first with a score of 836 on JD Power’s overall 1,000-point TabletIndex Rankings. By comparison, Amazon scored 829 versus the study average of 828 points. Samsung placed third (822), followed by Asus (818) and Acer (782).

What was your initial though on the latest J.D. Power scores?

Were you surprised that Apple lost to Samsung despite winning in all but the lone category – cost – one which has the least importance?

And how do you comment the table top of post? Note that it represents a rough approximation of the actual per-category scores given to the brands, because J.D. Power won’t release the actual numbers?

And what about Samsung getting a 5/5 score in overall satisfaction despite never receiving a 5/5 score in any of the metrics?

How stupendous is that?

  • hkgsulphate

    just simply because of the cost? really? I don’t care if the cost is relatively way too expensive if I enjoy the product very much

  • Vince Reedy

    I don’t need JD Power to tell me what I like.

    • Taf Khan

      I think sales numbers speak louder than JD Power or Samsung! Apple still @ the top of the tree!

  • appleyay

    snoods like samsung payed someone to make this happen..

    • D R

      No. Samsung NEVER would do something like that. It would be dishonest.

      • Michael

        LOL. From what planet are you? Last time samsung was caught paying college students to write a negative review for htc, is this the definition of honesty for you?

      • Ignacio Irigoyen

        He was been sarcastic….

      • Is this sarcasm? If not, facts prove you wrong.

      • D R


  • moofer

    Total BS. They even said Apple is the better tablet; Samsung only won on price. Well, I remember the day when JD Power told us which product was the best, and then we the consumer decided if the price was worth paying or not. State the price, rate the tablet, let the consumer decide. Stop telling me what something is worth, because clearly, you have no idea. JDP just lost all cred.

    • Rowan09

      I agree price shouldn’t be a category deciding what’s better because each consumer can rate price differently. It’s like asking a group of millionaires or billionaires if $100,000 for a Ferrari is cheap and then asking poor folks if $100,000 for a Ferrari is cheap. It’s obvious most of the richer people will agree that it’s cheap while most of the poor people will say otherwise. Price is just a horrible gauge for what’s good or bad because the Windows 8 tablets made from Asus, etc are cheaper than Samsung tablets.

    • Pablo

      I think replacing the price section for a price/overral performance would be great, becausee that is part of a better product, not just the price itself, that is (like you said) for the consumer to decide

  • Nate McKelvie

    I think tablet sales and usage statistics show which tablet is REALLY number one amongst consumers. I run a wireless gadget store on pier 39 in San Francisco. I see customers from all parts of the globe and iPad and iPad mini reign supreme! And at least 20% of my customers that have non iPad tablets wish they had the iPad but couldn’t afford the cost. Cost will always be a factor in peoples decision on which tablet they purchase. But it’s like saying a honda is a better car than a pie he because it has a better price. This is a ridiculous way to evaluate satisfaction level.

  • Ignacio Irigoyen

    Table shaped paper weighs are cheaper, shouldn’t they be the top tablet following JD Power logic?

  • erod434

    You need to be open minded when seeing a someone win something and not blindly think the judges are wrong, remember its just an opinion you still have yours. The way J.D. power defined customer satisfaction was obviously value for the price, and there is no question that for the price you are getting more from samsung than you get from apples offerings. That is why it won this year. Even though it was slightly less responsive and a little harder to use, the value for the price is what ultimately matters in purchasing a device. This is clearly what the judges were thinking though I don’t agree with it and many others don’t either, it is just an opinion your entitled to your own.

    • Rowan09

      I understand but price is a horrible category to decide a winner and here’s why. If I give someone something for free with subpar performance and I sell the similar product for $150, price will get 5 stars and could decide which product is better. These surveys are suppose to let customers know this is the best product, not the cheapest.

    • felixtaf

      I think most of us are arguing, not because Samsung won the award. We argue based on the ratings they posted. They give 5/5 for everything to iPad except price. If you use it as 5 point score system, iPad scores 22 and Samsung tab scores 19. Also, how can you get 5/5 final score, when your best individual score is 4? (Am using 5 point system, jus for a comparison)

      As Rowan09 said, If price is an important factor deciding the score, then Samsung shud have won this last year.

      Even if price is an important factor, Asus shud have given 5/5 in that category. But they got only 4. I seriously dono how their rating works!

  • dc7007

    Maybe JDP was influenced by benchmarks

    • TDD140

      iPad still beats samsung tablets in benchmarks though!!!

      • dc7007

        I know. I was being ironic. But now I think Samsung find a way to overclock their consumer satisfaction ranking too!!! Or maybe JDP really really screwed this up.

  • felixtaf

    “All these years I was buying iPad based on JD Power ratings… And now am going to buy a Samsung tablet. Coz they won this time!”

  • Taf Khan

    Maybe Samsung had moved up a league or two, first it was bribing student to write fake reviews now it’s buying ranking spots from JD Power!

  • Rowan09

    This makes no sense because the iPad was always expensive. If this is the case Samsung should have won before this year as well.

    • felixtaf

      You have a valid point!

      • Rowan09

        When you’re on top you’re always the bad guy. The 64bit chip was called a “marketing gimmick” and now this. How can you get a perfect score on the factors that matters the most and lose with the price and end up losing? As a matter of fact there’s no way the Kindle and Asus which I’m assuming is the Windows tablets gets the same score as the Galaxy Tab. The Galaxy Tab is more expensive than both of those tablets by a large amount.

      • felixtaf

        Plus, How can you score a overall point of 5 (Among the best) when your individual best score is 4 (better than most). I think JD power should be brought up to correct exam papers!

    • erod434

      Not necessarily because this year alone, samsung has improved other aspects of their devices significantly more than apple (because apple really didn’t have far to go) which makes the value for the price better than in years past for samsung devices so that argument doesn’t really hold ground for me. I’m not saying that samsung tablets are better than ipads, but for the price of some of them your getting a better value than in years past which is why it won. I still think the ipad is clear and away the best tablet on the market, but they have a perfectly reasonable argument.

      • Rowan09

        Not true because as you can see this won only because of the price. Samsung still doesn’t make the OS so the upgrades on the new Note tab is not significant it’s just like the S3 to S4 upgrade basically software additions.

  • chumawumba

    I ain’t even mad

  • Qiren_94

    First he says “which denote the brand that has the highest score within each factor regardless of how much higher their score is.”
    Next he says “its score was only marginally better than Samsung’s. At the same
    time, however, Apple’s score on cost was significantly lower than that
    of all other brands.”
    Hippocratic much?

  • Umut Bilgiç

    This is ridicolousity at its best! Apple clearly blown out anyone with other categories, and just becouse Apple’s price tag is a bit much, Samsung has it? First of all, deciding the BEST of something means the usage & experience. If a product got better score (significantly) then one other, but still lost. becouse it was a little expensive, this is total nonsense. You are PAYING for the quality you get, they wouldnt give it off free, becouse the build & usage quality is better. You can say a Honda is better then a BMW, just becouse it is cheaper! And also, Samsung has always been the cheap guy, Apple always the classbut expensive (relatively) guy. I am wondering what was going on special with the judges this year, that Samsung suddenly won! The more I talk about this, the more ridicolous it gets, so I think I will stop..

  • n0ahcruz3

    I find the S pen very useful. What the ipad offers are more apps imo.

    • Umut Bilgiç

      Well, the point here isnt exactly this. Apple has blown everyone away with full 5 stars with usage experience, usability, design and such. The problem is… A lot of things, i have posted a comment please read it, a lot of stuff 😀

      • n0ahcruz3

        Then tell me what does the ipad have that blows away the competition? Productivity speaking.

      • Umut Bilgiç

        Prodyctivity speaking? Lol. Productivity apps, and how fluent and powerful they can be!

  • Dr. Joseph S. Curcio

    Apple has overpriced their products and the greed for higher profit is demonstrated by the weighted test given by JD Powers. I like my iPhones very much but realize I am overpaying every time I purchase an Apple product.

    • Umut Bilgiç

      Isnt it worth the experience though?

  • T_Will

    Trace the money.

    I bet there is some behind-the-scenes financial connection between Samsung and J.D. Powers.

  • Pablo

    First 10% of difference between the more important and least important categry is not that much, 10 points equals 1 point, 100 equals 10, etc. Is not that big difference I think. Second, the circles are relative measure of the difference. I think a circle can represent any sort of gap because it is measured in terms of the highest scores, so it is relative. It’s perfectly possible that in absolute terms, the gap between both brands was that big. Or even in relative terms if, for example, the gap in price is that much (discounts and 50% difference between prices is that much), it goes even bigger if the people feel that difference is really important. This whole thing is just relative, too much relative. So it really is possible to be true. There are not only needed the points to analize this, but also the way they build the study, from the people they used to answer the study, to how they determine what category is more important than other, to how relative every step and didactic arrange is. Also, it would be better to ask how you feel the price/overall performance ratio, than the price for itself.
    So yeah, the explanations could be true, maybe are true, but in relative terms, which are subjective and not necessarily the real image of what product is better.

  • batongxue

    Thoughts? Shamesung paid (AGAIN) JD Power to do so?
    Even the Nexus 7 would beat the shite out of any Shamesung tablets, not to mention iPad.

  • Yujin

    they got some korean love…in the shape of dollars…

  • Falk M.

    Well, any mediocre computer magazine gives you results of comparisons with two final grades in both “overall quality” as well as “cost effectiveness”.

    They merely randomly picked whatever they wanted and called it “best”, when in fact it’s “best bang for buck” if anything.

    Skewed and misleading.