Harris Interactive recently took a quick pulse of American adults to determine how strong the buzz really is. Although iPhone is not yet a household word, 47 percent of respondents were aware of the product and a full 17 percent expressed interest in purchasing it, which makes for a pretty loud buzz from consumers for a product that isn’t yet available.

These are just some of the results of a new study conducted by the Harris Interactive Technology Practice, which were presented through the company’s latest webinar(1). Harris Interactive fields ongoing studies on a range of topical issues within the technology industry and presents the information quarterly. The studies are conducted online with consumers from a multimillion member panel created and maintained by Harris Interactive.

The Decision on When to Buy.

Perhaps a more interesting question to ask is when U.S. adults would buy this product. Of those expressing interest to purchase, nine percent say they would buy at product launch and another eight percent would buy before their current wireless service contract expired. About 17 percent say they would wait for their current wireless contract to expire before purchasing and 25 percent would purchase it — when their existing wireless carrier offers the iPhone. Finally, a full 40 percent of buyers intend to wait for the price to come down.

So What Makes the iPhone so Attractive?

Survey results show the hottest iPhone feature was its large storage capacity (37%), begging the question — is this a better phone or a better iPod? This is followed by iPhone quad band worldwide capabilities (36%) and its easy to use/drop dead cool user interface (31%). Overall, high powered multi-functional mobile devices like the iPhone have strong appeal (or Apple- al) to about 31 percent of the marketplace. The remainder does not need, or care to pay for, all those bells and whistles and seek simpler solutions.

Our Take on It.

In June look for a nice pop in iPhone sales out of the gate and some additional subscribers lining up at AT&T/Cingular to switch their carrier and get their iPhone. Longer term, look for continued success for iPhone and continued churn among wireless service providers. Another announcement for a Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) version of iPhone could really add gasoline to the fire, which leads to speculation about Apple’s pricing policy and the introduction of additional products to their lineup (iPhone nano anyone?).

Commenting on the survey results Joseph Porus, Vice President of Harris Interactive’s Technology Practice said, “Apple’s new iPhone has shaken the industry to its core. 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.”