The new data from ChangeWave Research published on Friday found that 5 percent of consumers considered themselves "very likely" to purchase a smart watch from Apple for themselves or someone else. Another 14 percent indicated they are "somewhat likely" to do the same.
In comparison, 18 percent of consumers polled in January 2010 said they were likely to buy a hypothetical Apple tablet, with 4 percent of those "very likely." And another poll conducted in 2005 found that the number of people interested in purchasing an Intel-based Mac was the same: 18 percent.
The survey bodes well for an "iWatch," if Apple were to actually release such a product. The iPad has dominated the tablet landscape since its launch in 2010, fending off numerous copycats and newcomers, while the switch to Intel chips played a strong role in boosting Mac sales to new heights for the platform.
The strongest factor driving interest in an Apple smart watch is loyalty to Apple, as 18 percent of "likely" buyers said their trust in the company is the main selling point. Another 16 percent said they are most interested in the convenience a smart watch would offer, 14 percent were interested in the "cool factor," and 11 percent said they were interested in how easily they believe such a device would interact with other Apple products.
The data suggests to the market watchers at ChangeWave that the concept of an Apple "iWatch" has "legs." The figures were culled from a survey of 1,713 primarily North American respondents, and was conducted March 4 through 19.
"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,'" said Andy Golub of 451 Research's ChangeWave service. "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."
Rumors of an Apple smart watch began to pick up steam earlier this year, when a number of reports claimed that the company is developing a wearable wrist accessory. One such report claimed that the company has a 100-person team working on the project.
Interest in smart watches intensified after the Pebble raised well over $10 million in financial backing on Kickstarter last year. Since then, it's been claimed that Microsoft, Samsung, Google and LG are all working on their own smart watches.