The iPhone isn't available yet, and it's certain to have its limitations, yet Apple has managed to create a pretty loud buzz among consumers.
A survey by Harris Interactive found that 47% of U.S. adults were aware of the product unveiled in January at Apple's Macworld in San Francisco, and 17% were interested in buying it.
Of those interested in getting their hands on the stylish device with a touch screen, 9% said they would buy the iPhone when it launches in June, and another 8% said they would buy it before their current wireless service contract expired. The iPhone will only be available through Cingular Wireless.
About 17% of the respondents to Harris' poll said they would wait for their wireless contracts to expire, and 25% said they would purchase an iPhone when it becomes available through their carriers. The largest percentage, 40%, said they would wait until the price came down. The price is expected to start at $500.
With so much anticipation, what's the attraction? It won't be for its handling of third-party applications. The iPhone is a closed device and isn't expected to be of much use within corporate environments that use Research In Motion's BlackBerry, for example, or smartphones offered by Palm and Motorola.
Fully 37% of the people in the Harris poll said the phone's large storage capacity, as much as 8 Gbytes, was the hottest feature, an indication that the respondents were as much interested in its ability to play music as in making calls. Nearly as many people, 36%, said they favored the iPhone's quad-band capabilities, which means it could be used in regions outside the United States, and 31% rated its unique interface as the major draw.
"Apple's new iPhone has shaken the industry to its core," Joseph Porus, VP of Harris Interactive's Technology Practice said in a statement. "Look for strong sales and a new cult to develop around iPhone. Also expect increased orders for midnight oil as competitors scramble to play catch-up."