Most iPhone X owners weren't satisfied with this one feature

The majority of iPhone X owners were happy with the phone's looks, battery life, speed, and more. But one critical feature was lacking in a major way.

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  • Overall, iPhone X users gave the product a 97% customer satisfaction rating. -- Creative Strategies, 2018
  • Despite overall customer satisfaction with the iPhone X, device owners had problems with Siri, leaving the digital assistant with a roughly 20% customer satisfaction rating. -- Creative Strategies, 2018

For years Apple has responded to complaints about the functionality of Siri and as more virtual assistants have popped up from their rivals, users continue to grumble about the things it cannot do.

That was one of the biggest takeaways from a study of iPhone X users conducted by Creative Strategies, Inc. Ben Bajarin, principal analyst and the head of primary research, said in the report that iPhone X owners gave the product "an overall 97% customer satisfaction. While that number is impressive, what really stands out when you do customer satisfaction studies is the percentage who say they are very satisfied with the product," Bajarin wrote.

In terms of the survey respondents who met that "very satisfied" mark, the report found it to be about 85% of iPhone X owners.

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But when the report authors broke it down by specific features, Siri stood out as one of the only things users were not happy with. Every other feature had a customer satisfaction percentage above 60%. Siri was the only feature below that mark at about 20%.

This figure is more prominent, Bajarin said, because their survey focused on early Apple adoptees, who he said "tend to be more critical and less satisfied overall than mainstream consumers."

This is good for Apple because of the very high marks almost every other feature received in the survey. But Siri's very low score dovetails with the years of complaints users have had with how Siri functions.

The Street's Leon Lazaroff wrote that Siri's main problem is a consumer base expecting it to function like other virtual assistants, which it cannot do because it was designed for a very specific purpose.

"Siri's job is to integrate those devices, it's meant to grease the connections between Apple devices, making the iPhone integral to the iPad, AppleWatch and AppleTV -- and all points in between," Lazaroff wrote. "The problem for Apple is that people have come to expect a voice-activated device that can answer relatively easy questions fast and efficiently, and Siri...has mostly fallen short."

Siri's inability to answer basic questions like Amazon's Alexa, Microsoft's Cortana, and Google Assistant has left users confused about what the feature is actually supposed to do.

Verge journalist Walt Mossberg wrote in 2016 that Apple "wasted its lead" with Siri and was too slow to add features and functionality that its rivals had already mastered.

"Siri's huge promise has been shrunk to just making voice calls and sending messages to contacts, and maybe getting the weather, using voice commands. If you try and treat Siri like a truly intelligent assistant, aware of the wider world, it often fails, even though Apple presentations and its Siri website suggest otherwise," Mossberg wrote.

A study done by Stone Temple last year found that Siri "only answered 21.7 percent of questions and nailed 62.2 percent of them completely, correctly," noting that "Alexa and Siri both face the limitation of not being able to leverage a full crawl of the web to supplement their knowledge bases. It will be interesting to see how they both address that challenge."

Despite the challenges with Siri, Apple should be heartened to know that most users gave the iPhone X very high scores on almost everything else, and Bajarin said Apple is set up nicely for the future.

"Overall, the data we collected around iPhone X show that if Apple is truly using this product as the baseline for innovation for the next decade, then they are off to a strong start and have built a solid foundation," Bajarin wrote in the report.

Bajarin later added: "If Apple can bring Siri back to a leadership position and in combination continue to build on the hardware and software around iPhone X base foundation, then they will remain well positioned for the next decade."

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Image: CNET