The iPhone 14 is voted by consumers as the most disappointing model since iPhone 5

The iPhone 14 is voted by consumers as the most disappointing model since iPhone 5
You might think that with fiscal Q2 iPhone revenue setting a record for the quarter, more consumers would be extremely happy with the device compared with the previous year. But according to product review site perfectrec (via AndroidAuthority), the iPhone 14 line suffered the largest decline in iPhone customer satisfaction since 2012. And as the site points out, starting with the iPhone 5 and continuing through the release of the iPhone 13 series, the device saw its customer satisfaction scores rise or remain static each year.

The iPhone 14 ended a long string of improving customer satisfaction with base iPhone models

To reiterate, from 2012 through 2021, the iPhone saw its satisfaction rating rise or remain flat each year. That streak came to an end with 2022's iPhone 14. And perfectrec made a point of noting that it wasn't just the base iPhone 14 model that failed to live up to consumers' expectations. The report says that the premium iPhone 14 Pro and the iPhone 14 Pro Max models both disappointed consumers compared to the prior year's iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max units.

The site took a look at the percentage of reviews for the base model iPhone each year that awarded each device the highest five-star rating. 69% of the reviews received by the iPhone 4 in 2010 gave the handset a 5-star rating. That dropped to 65% for the iPhone 5 although a major rebound started in 2014 when 69% of the reviews for the iPhone 6 registered as 5-stars.

After 2016's iPhone 7 received 5-star ratings from 70% of  reviews posted online on Google, 2017's iPhone X saw the percentage of its 5-star ratings soar to 74% (although the iPhone 8, released the same year, captured a 5-star rating in only 71% of its reviews). Two years later, the iPhone 11 captured 5-star ratings on 78% of reviews, and this rose to 80% with the iPhone 13. But last year's model declined sharply, by eight percentage points. The iPhone 14 saw "only" 72% of its reviews hit the coveted 5-star mark.

As we said, it wasn't just the base iPhone 14 that generated fewer 5-star reviews. The iPhone 14 Pro saw its percentage of 5-star reviews decline from the 84% garnered by the iPhone 13 Pro in 2021 to 76% last year. And during the same period, the 86% of 5-star reviews collected by the iPhone 13 Pro Max in 2021 declined to 80% last year for the iPhone 14 Pro Max.

Apple's plan to differentiate Pro and non-Pro models backfired when it came to iPhone 14 customer satisfaction

So what happened? The site says that the reason for the long trend higher in 5-star reviews was a simple one. The phones got better each year. But last year, Apple decided to reuse the A15 Bionic chipset on the non-Pro iPhone 14 units and employ the new A16 Bionic on the Pro models only. Also leading to lower reviews for the iPhone 14 was the decision by Apple to keep the 60Hz refresh rate on the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus screens, half the 120Hz refresh rate of the iPhone 14 Pro series models.

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Also disappointing consumers was Apple's decision to replace the notch with the Dynamic Island shape-shifting notification system on the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max models only. Apple's plan to differentiate the Pro and non-Pro iPhone units is usually done to get consumers to spend the extra money it takes to purchase one of the premium models so they can have the features found only on the Pro variants. But this doesn't help the non-Pro iPhone models generate 5-star reviews.

The site also had some other interesting data. Generating 5-star ratings on 64% of its reviews, the iPhone 5c is the "least-loved" iPhone model. With a whopping 86% of its reviews giving the phone a 5-star rating, the iPhone 13 Pro Max is the "most loved" iPhone model. Compare this with the current iPhone 14 family which includes the iPhone 14 (72%), iPhone 14 Plus (75%), iPhone 14 Pro (76%), and the iPhone 14 Pro Max (80%).

In case you are curious, the percentages are based on "669,543 user-generated reviews posted on Google." The data was collected in April 2023 and as perfectrec points out, the numbers can change over time. The number of reviews per iPhone model ranged from a low of 2,304 to a high of 56,832.

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