The long-rumored Apple iWatch might actually be quite a success in its first year on store shelves, data from Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty shows.
Apple will price the iWatch at $300 and sell between 30 million and 60 million units in its first year on store shelves, Huberty wrote in a research report to investors on Monday. The report, which was earlier obtained by Fortune, also acknowledges that there's a chance the iWatch will fail. But Huberty believes those chances are somewhat slim. Her "base case" puts Apple's sales at 30 million units, with 60 million acting as a best-case scenario for the company.
Rumors have been swirling for well over a year that Apple is working on an iWatch to take on other wearable devices. Apple, of course, hasn't confirmed that's the case, but nearly every report and rumor suggests the device will be launching sometime this year.
Wearables have quickly broken out as an important market for tech companies. Google is doubling down on the technology with its Android Wear mobile operating system, and some of Apple's top competitors, including Samsung and LG, are leveraging that operating system for that effort.
Wearables are expected to grow considerably in the coming years. Late last year, Juniper Research reported that worldwide spending on wearables could hit $19 billion by 2018. If Huberty's own "base" forecast becomes a reality, however, Apple would generate $9 billion in the next year alone, potentially pushing the market to higher-than-expected gains in the next 12 months.
In addition to talking wearables, Huberty briefly touched on brand loyalty, reporting that in developed countries, 90 percent of people who own Apple products keep them. That's up from 73 percent in December 2011.
No other company can come close to Apple on brand loyalty. According to Huberty, Samsung has a 77 percent retention rate, while Nokia stands at 58 percent. LG has a 41 percent loyalty rate.