Even as consumers go lower, their expectations — in some cases based on owning other tablets previously — remain high. "They think they should get more out of [a lower-priced tablet]," Parsons said.
That caused J.D. Power's first-ever major decline in the overall satisfaction score for tablets, Parsons noted. "Tablets are getting [to lower satisfaction scores] faster than did smartphones," he said.
J.D. Power's rankings have been important bragging rights for Apple, which has cited the awards in the past. During a July 2013 conference call with Wall Street, chief financial officer Peter Oppenheimer referenced Apple's nine-consecutive wins in the smartphone category and the two-straight victories in tablets.
After being deposed last October, Apple didn't mention J.D. Power in similar earnings calls in January and April 2014.
Apple edged out rival Samsung in J.D. Power's latest tablet satisfaction scoring, a turnabout after the Korean company had ended Apple's string of wins in October 2013.
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