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iPhone tops among potential buyers, but Samsung surging

Half of potential smartphone buyers polled would opt for Apple, yet Samsung devices are growing in demand, says a ChangeWave survey.

Apple's iPhone 5.
Apple's iPhone 5. CNET

Apple's iPhone is the No. 1 pick among prospective smartphone buyers polled in North America, though it's losing some ground to Samsung.

Among 4,000 people looking to buy a smartphone in the next 90 days, 50 percent plan to buy an iPhone, according to a report out today from ChangeWave Research. That's not a bad number, but it's down from 71 percent in last quarter's survey, which was conducted just as the iPhone 5 debuted.

Over the same time, the percentage of people eyeing a Samsung smartphone rose to 21 percent from 13 percent, according to the report.

"Consumer buying intent for Samsung smartphones has been extraordinary to start the year. Considering the Galaxy S3 has been out for several months we'd normally expect a slowdown by now -- but it's still red hot," ChangeWave's Paul Carton said in a statement. "We're also seeing strong interest in Samsung's large-screen phone -- the Galaxy Note 2. Supersize smart phones are taking the industry by storm in 2013."

To back up that last claim, the ChangeWave survey asked buyers for their preferred screen size, and more than a quarter pointed to a 5-inch screen or larger. The iPhone 5's display size is 4 inches, while the Galaxy S3's is 4.8 inches. The Galaxy Note 2 tops them both at 5.5 inches.

Among all buyers interested in Samsung, 69 percent are looking at the Galaxy S3, while 23 percent favor the Note 2.

ChangeWave also scoped out the satisfaction level of current smartphone owners based on operating system as well as device.

ChangeWave Research

Apple's iOS came in first, with 71 percent of users saying they're very satisfied with their iPhones. But in a new twist, 53 percent of Windows Phone users ranked it high in satisfaction. Microsoft's mobile OS actually beat out Android, which garnered high satisfaction ratings from 48 percent of its users.

In terms of devices, 70 percent of iPhone users were happy with their phones. Boosted by Windows Phone, 56 percent of Nokia users were satisfied with their devices, beating Samsung with 55 percent.

For this latest study, ChangeWave surveyed 4,061 people last month, primarily in North America.