NEW YORK: Apple's iPad remains by far the number one choice of US consumers and companies intending to purchase tablets, according to a new study.

ChangeWave, the research firm, surveyed 2,969 shoppers and 1,168 corporate IT buyers to gauge their attitudes towards devices such as tablets and smartphones.

Some 85% of consumers hoping to acquire a slate expressed a preference for the iPad, versus only 4% for Samsung's Galaxy Tab, 2% for Research in Motion's Playbook, and 1% for the Motorola Xoom.

Another factor enhancing Apple's leading position in the category is the high level of customer approval registered by individuals that had already snapped up an iPad or iPad2.

Overall, 70% of iPad owners were "very satisfied" with the device, a total which fell to 42% when combining the scores posted by all the other manufacturers assessed.

With Amazon expected to launch a tablet in the near future, the study asked respondents if they would consider buying this gadget, and found 12% were "somewhat likely" and 2% were "very likely" to do so.

"Amazon may have the consumer interest to succeed where others have failed - if they can build a competitive tablet product," ChangeWave said. "So far that's proven to be a big 'if' for the rest of the industry."

Among the corporate panel, 80% of contributors planning to purchase tablets in the next quarter for business purposes intended to choose the iPad, again ahead of the Samsung Galaxy Tab, on 75%.

Equivalent offerings made by Dell logged 5%, while Motorola recorded 4%, down six percentage points from similar analysis in May, and Research in Motion yielded 3%, off by five percentage points.

A separate poll of 2,297 shoppers undertaken after Steve Jobs' resignation as Apple's CEO revealed 4% of interviewees were "less likely" to buy Apple products than was previously the case.

By contrast, 89% of consumers stated that the executive reshuffle at Apple would exert "no effect" on their likelihood of obtaining Apple-made goods.

When asked in June 2008 what impact Jobs' potential departure may have, 18% expected their purchase intent to decline, falling to 7% in February, suggesting the firm's brand is getting stronger.

Data sourced from ChangeWave; additional content by Warc staff