A new ChangeWave Research (http://www.changewaveresearch.com) survey of iPhone 4S owners shows customer satisfaction ratings for the latest Apple smart phone are higher than for its predecessor, the iPhone 4.

The Nov. 2-9 ChangeWave survey of 215 Apple iPhone 4S owners looked at their thoughts and opinions of the new device — including overall satisfaction with it, key likes and dislikes, dropped calls, and the impact of the iPhone 4S battery life issue. Overall iPhone 4S customer satisfaction ratings show a high degree of approval — with 77% of owners saying they’re “Very Satisfied” and 19% “Somewhat Satisfied” with their new iPhone. Only 2% of owners say they are “Unsatisfied” with it.

These iPhone 4S satisfaction ratings are higher than those found in a July 2010 survey of iPhone 4 new owners. ChangeWave asked iPhone 4S owners about the specific features they like best about their new smart phone, and by a wide margin the Siri digital assistant (49%) ranks number one. General ease of use (39%) is the second most liked feature, followed by the 8 megapixel camera with LED flash (33%). iCloud ranked sixth in terms of things owners liked best, after faster web browsing (24%) and screen resolution (23%).

When ChangeWave looked at what new owners disliked most about their iPhone 4S, two things dwarfed all others — battery life and the lack of 4G. A total of 38% of owners say the iPhone 4S’s battery life is too short, while 30% say they dislike the lack of 4G capabilities. Only one other dislike reached into the double digits — screen size (11%).

The ChangeWave survey looked at the dropped call rating among iPhone 4S owners, and compared it with the dropped call rating of iPhone 4 owners from a July 2010 ChangeWave survey. It found the overall dropped call rate reported by iPhone 4S owners (2.5%) to be half as much as the rate reported by iPhone 4 owners (5.2%) in the previous survey.

Further analysis shows the primary reason for this is due to differences between Verizon iPhone 4S owners and AT&T iPhone 4S owners when it comes to reported dropped call rates. Back in the July 2010 survey, AT&T had been the exclusive service provider for the iPhone. But in the current ChangeWave survey, nearly two-in-five iPhone 4S owners are using other wireless service providers (i.e., Verizon, Sprint) that have historically shown lower dropped call rates in ChangeWave surveys than AT&T.

In a direct comparison of the dropped call rates between Verizon and AT&T in this survey, Verizon iPhone 4S owners reported only a 1.3% dropped call rate while AT&T iPhone 4S owners reported a 4.1% dropped call rate. In sum, the lower dropped call rate for the iPhone 4S in the current survey appears primarily attributable to owners now using multiple wireless service providers — as opposed to only using AT&T back in the July 2010 survey.