The Macalope: Survey shenanigans


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Another week, another survey that uses Apple to gin up news about an organization that no one’s ever heard of before.

This time it’s an outfit called OnDevice Research; CNet’s Lance Whitney brings us the surprising results.

“iPhone 5 rated 5th in U.S. user satisfaction” (tip o’ the antlers to iHKDesign).

Well, not really so surprising when the goal of your survey is to generate buzz rather than information.

The iPhone 5 trailed four Android phones for user satisfaction, according to a new report out today.


And there was a great rending of garments and pointing of fingers and Apple soon went out of business and we all bought Android phones, The End.


Couple of things about this “survey.”

Click through—or just take the Macalope’s word for it—for some classic chart shenanigans that would have Edward Tufte punching a kitten. The first-place winner, the Motorola NeverHeardOfIt, scores 8.57 while the iPhone 5 scores 8.23, a whopping 4 percent difference. Yet the bar for the iPhone 5 is less than half the height of the bar for the Motorola device and there’s no scale. Presumably this is done so you get a more visceral representation of the level of Apple fail.

Well, OnDevice Research is trying really hard to get our attention, so let’s go check out the survey itself (or, again, you can take the Macalope’s word for it). The horny one scrolled to the bottom where it says “Download the full report” and thought, ah, good, now we’ll see some details. Actually, he didn’t think that, because he’s been through this routine before. Now, the link is to a slide show that provides a few more charts, but nothing about the methodology. It does note this, however:

On an aggregated level, Apple is top for mobile device satisfaction followed closely by Google, with Samsung coming much further down the list.

That tidbit somehow didn’t make OnDevice’s headline (or CNet’s). So, the idea then is that people love their iPad or their iPhone 4 or their iPhone 4S so much that it makes up for the iPhone 5? Because apparently it’s so much worse than those devices? Well, guess it’s possible that some people think that. But even so, way to pull the negative rabbit out of the positive hat.

Get to the end of the slide show and you’ll be treated to OnDevice’s client list.

Guesses? Anyone?

Microsoft …

BlackBerry …

Nokia …

and …

Motorola, maker of both of OnDevice’s top-rated devices.

The Macalope will just assume you all got full marks on that.

Now, surely the fact that OnDevice’s clients are all Apple competitors have nothing to do with any of this.


Even CNet’s Whitney noticed things were a little off with this survey:

Some of the findings seem a bit odd, especially since OnDevice Research didn’t reveal all of the devices included in the survey.

Or the demographics. Or how respondents were selected. Or how they found anyone who owns an HTC phone, let alone people willing to rate it higher than the iPhone 5.

You remember how Apple claimed a while back to have created about half a million jobs by virtue of its extended ecosystem? The Macalope thinks they missed a few in the phony-baloney negative Apple survey field.

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