Apple's iPhone has a "wow" factor so powerful that phone users in a recent survey gave it a 90 percent approval rating without actually touching it.

Strategy Analytics in Boston, which ran the iPhone survey, reported yesterday that it found 90 percent of mobile phone handset owners in its recent study gave the iPhone higher ratings than their own handsets.

But the users didn't touch an iPhone, since the device doesn't ship until next month.


Instead, Strategy Analysts captured the responses three weeks ago from 35 users who had viewed video presentations of iPhone features developed by Apple, a spokesman said.

The survey also found that more than 40 percent of the respondents rated the iPhone much better for its voice mail, phone call management, web browsing and music player, said Harvey Cohen, president of Strategy Analytics. The responses indicated "real innovation in designing a user experience", he said in a statement.

Kevin Nolan, director of user experience research at Strategy Analytics, tempered the "wow" reactions by noting that its high price might prevent the iPhone from doing well. The iPhone is priced at $499 for a 4GB model and $599 for an 8GB model.

"While the iPhone 'wow' factor is impressive, our user panel indicated that challenges in pricing and positioning may act as a barrier to mass market success," Nolan said in a statement. "Nonetheless, the iPhone clearly represents a breakthrough in terms of user experience.

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