Rumored iWatch Already Has Interested Customers

While Samsung (SSNLF.PK) has announced its plans to unveil a smart watch later this year, in typical fashion, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) has yet to confirm that an iWatch lies it its production pipeline. But that small problem has not stopped analysts from calculating the potential market for such a device.

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Swatch Chief Executive Officer Nick Hayek expressed his doubt in early March that an Apple-designed smart watch would be experience high demand. “Personally, I don’t believe it’s the next revolution,” he said at a press conference on the company’s annual results, covered by Bloomberg.  “Replacing an iPhone with an interactive terminal on your wrist is difficult. You can’t have an immense display.” Consumers often see watches as a piece of jewelry, and, in his opinion, an information-crowded device may just not qualify.

A recent article published by Bloomberg Businessweek made a similar argument. While analysts specializing in technology love the idea of what a smart timepiece designed by Apple could mean for the company’s stock, fashion trends are currently celebrating “the trusty old-school timepiece,” a fact technology contributor Dave Rosenberg noted in his article titled “Apple’s iWatch May Find Silicon Valley a Tough Sell.”

But here’s what the research shows. Data published Friday by ChangeWave Research found that 5 percent of consumers considered themselves “very likely” to purchase a smart watch from Apple for themselves or someone else, while another 14 percent indicated they are “somewhat likely” to purchase the device. As AppleInsider reported, the figures shows “ they show strong consumer interest.”…

The research compiled the responses of 1,713 primarily North American respondents drawn from a survey conducted March 4 through 19.

These numbers are based on hypothetical, but judging by how predictive previous surveys, conducted ahead of important new product releases by Apple, were, they paint a positive picture for consumer interest in the rumored iWatch. When consumers were polled in January 2010, 18 percent said they were likely to buy a hypothetical Apple tablet, with 4 percent of those respondents “very likely.” Similarly, a poll conducted in 2005 showed that the number of people interested in purchasing an Intel-based Mac was 18 percent. But demand for both these devices far surpassed predictions; since its launch, the iPad has dominated the tablet landscape, while the switch to Intel chips helped Mac skyrocket.

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The survey also explored why consumers were interested in the iWatch. According to AppleInsider, the strongest factor driving interest is loyalty to Apple; 18 percent of “likely” buyers said that trust in the company is the device’s main selling point. In comparison, another 16 percent said they were interested in the convenience of a smart watch, while the “cool factor” appealed to 14 percent…

From this data, market watchers at ChangeWave have determined that the concept of an Apple “iWatch” has “legs,” according to the publication.

“Apple’s track record of delivering ultra-convenient, easy to use products with a perceived ‘cool factor’ is driving pre-release demand for the rumored Apple ‘iWatch,’” Andy Golub of 451 Research’s ChangeWave service said in the report. “While an ‘iWatch’ doesn’t yet exist – and if it ever does it will have to live up to super high expectations – it has the potential to be another huge success for the Cupertino, Calif., manufacturer.”

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Rumors of the Apple smart watch began circulating earlier this year following a number of reports asserting that the company was developing a wearable device. After Pebble raised more than $10 million in financial backing on Kickstarter last year, interest in smart watches intensified. Now, Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), and LG (LGEAF.PK) are also rumored to be designing similar devices.

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