As speculation surrounding the possible launch of an “iTV” from Apple continues to mount, new research from the Strategy Analytics Connected Home Devices (CHD) advisory service shows that nearly half of existing iPhone users would be very or somewhat likely to buy an Apple iTV soon after its launch. The report, “Apple’s Smart TV: Assessing Purchase Intention and Willingness to Pay,” provides results from the latest Strategy Analytics ConsumerMetrix survey of 6000 consumers across the US, France, Germany, Italy and the UK, fielded in March 2012.

“Although the details of a possible Apple smart TV are still unknown, existing Apple customers clearly demonstrate strong interest,” says Jia Wu, Director and report author, in the press release. “Meanwhile, consumers are still sensitive to price, even if Apple does launch another groundbreaking product. The success of an Apple iTV hinges on Apple’s ability to match innovation with appropriate price points.”

Apple, traditionally reliant on high device margins, would be challenged to find the right price/demand balance for an iTV. While 35 percent of surveyed US consumers indicate willingness to pay $1000 or more for an Apple-branded TV, only 14 percent would be willing to pay any more than $1600.

“Samsung, Sony, LG and other major TV manufacturers are most threatened by the prospect of an Apple iTV launch,” notes Kantideep Thota, Analyst, in the release. “More than one-quarter of non-Apple TV owners could potentially migrate to an Apple-branded TV in a fairly short period of time.”

Strategy Analytics conducted an online survey, the “2012 ConsumerMetrix Survey,” fielded in March 2012. The sample consisted of n=2038 individuals in the US and n=3996 in Europe ages 15-74 years. Strategy Analytics weighted the data by country, age, gender and internet use to represent the US and European populations of internet users, respectively.

MacDailyNews Take: If Mr. Cook needed a reason, he’s got a good one now.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Fred Mertz” and “Dan K.”for the heads up.]