Baird Equity Research analysts William V. Power, Steven J. Beckert and Andrew T. Flis have conducted a new survey that seems to show significant interest in the upcoming iPhone 6, a product that’s neither been released nor even confirmed by Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL).  Unsurprisingly, the most eager segment of the population surveyed were those that had shortly upgraded to an iPhone 5S after its release.  Coming as a bit of a shock to many techies, respondents seemed almost neutral on the concept of a larger screen, indicating that it might not be as much of a catalyst as some industry analysts believe.

iPhone 6

Positive on U.S. upgrade opportunity. Our U.S. survey appears to show solid early interest in the iPhone 6, particularly among owners of the iPhone 5, 5S and 5C. That same group appears to be enthusiastic about a larger screen, though interest in a larger screen among the wider smartphone base was more mixed. Overall, we remain positive on several upcoming potential catalysts and reiterate our Outperform rating and $600 target price.

Solid early interest for iPhone 6

Overall, 4.4% of our total respondents said that they plan to purchase the iPhone 6 when it’s introduced, presumably in the fall. That compares with 5.3% of our Sep. ’13 respondents who said that they planned to purchase the iPhone 5S in the next three months, though that was much closer to the launch. Another 12.5% fell in the maybe category.

Strong interest from 5S/5C owners

Notably, 5S and 5C owners, all of whom purchased their iPhones in the past five months, were the most likely to say that they definitely plan to purchase the iPhone 6, suggesting an ongoing upgrade opportunity.

On-the-fence buyers, 5S/5C owners interested in larger screen

Notably, iPhone owners who said “maybe” to the first question were 67% more likely than the average iPhone owner to upgrade if the iPhone 6 has a larger screen. Current iPhone 5S and 5C owners were 82% more likely.

Apple iPhone 6 large screen may attract users

Overall, iPhone owners appeared indifferent to the prospect of a larger screen on the iPhone 6, with 47% of iPhone owners saying they were indifferent and roughly equal amounts stating that they would be either more or less likely to purchase the device if it had a larger screen.

Bigger screens more popular in Asia

Notably, bigger screens have been more popular on average in many Asian markets, which we believe would be a significant opportunity for Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) as well.

iPhone device breakdown

Among our respondents, 7.6% currently own the iPhone 5S or 5C, 9.6% the iPhone 5, 10.7% the 4S and 6.4% the 4 or earlier.

Survey background

Our online survey included 1,000 responses from across the U.S. and should be demographically representative.