updated 03:42 pm EDT, Fri April 19, 2013
Levels similar to interest in Apple tablet, Intel-based Mac
An undercurrent of interest in an Apple "iWatch" already exists, even though the accessory is still just rumored, a new 451 Research survey indicates. The firm polled 1,713 people between March 4 and the 19th, of which most respondents were North American. The people were provided with a list of "probable" iWatch features, such as calls, texting, Siri, mobile payments, and health sensors. It's commonly believed that the watch will pair with an iPhone or iPad.
5 percent of the survey group said they were "very likely" to buy an iWatch when it becomes available, while 14 percent said they were "somewhat likely." Another 66 percent said they were unlikely, while 14 percent said they didn't know. The first two categories compare with their equivalents in some older surveys. A January 2010 poll about an Apple tablet had a 4 percent/14 percent split, as did an August 2005 poll about an Intel-based Mac. 451 does note, though, that the categories were labeled "significantly more likely" and "somewhat more likely" at the time.
The iWatch demand is more complicated when comparing people who already own Apple products versus those who don't. The "very likely" and "somewhat likely" numbers go up to 7 percent and 18 percent for Apple users, but down to just 1 percent and 4 percent for the non-Apple owners.
Of the people who said they were interested in buying an iWatch, 18 percent cited "loyalty to Apple" as a reason. 16 percent said convenience, while 14 percent mentioned the "cool" factor, and 11 percent pointed to easy integration with other Apple products.
An Apple watch announcement is typically expected sometime by the end of the year, generally in the fall. A number of other companies are believed to be racing to develop smartwatches as well, mainly Microsoft and Samsung. All three parties likely drew their motivation from the popularity of the Pebble smartwatch (pictured), and a desire to profit off new product categories.