By Philip Elmer-DeWitt
July 14, 2010

A survey completed the day the iPhone 4 came out shows how much Apple has put at risk

There’s good news and bad news for Apple (AAPL) in the survey of more than 4,000 smartphone owners released Wednesday by ChangeWave Research.

The good news is that in almost every category, the iPhone is blowing away the competition. In the 73% of iPhone owners who say they are very satisfied, more than 30 points ahead of HTC and Motorola (MOT). In the 52% who say they plan to buy an iPhone in the next 90 days (compared with 19% for HTC and 9% for Motorola). In the 50% who would prefer to have the iPhone OS on their next smartphone, up from 29% three months earlier and a full 20 points ahead of Google’s (GOOG) Android.

“It’s like Hollywood when Avatar came out,” said ChangeWave research director Paul Carton, “The iPhone was sucking all the oxygen out of the room.”

The bad news is that all this was recorded before the release of the iPhone 4. And while it is indicative of the good will Apple enjoyed with its customer base and the enormous pent-up demand for the new phone, it could also represent an enormous lost opportunity, given how badly the company has handled complaints about iPhone 4’s external antenna.

ChangeWave is conducting a survey of iPhone 4 owners, but it won’t have the results before September. By then we expect the issue will have been resolved, one way or the other.

Below: More charts from ChangeWave’s smartphone survey, conducted between June 14 and June 24 among 4,028 respondents.

Note the decline of Research in Motion’s (RIMM) BlackBerry in almost every category. Whatever bad news there is for Apple in this survey, the news for RIM is even worse.

For the complete report, click here. The usual caveats that come with a ChangeWave survey (a self-selected sample heavily skewed toward early adopters) apply.

[Follow Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Twitter @philiped]

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