With Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) largely expected to release an “iWatch” later this year, what sort of market penetration will it see when it releases the wrist-worn device?

Apple iWatch

While that may seem impossible to answer, given the amount of variables, others who make a living projecting answers to these questions are stepping up this week.

Analysts weigh-in on potential sales

Analyst Keith Bachman of BMO Capital Markets is calling for 10% penetration of the market for people who already own the iPhone in the first year. AppleInsider got a hold of a note to investors this week written by Bachman and found that his low-end projection called for sales of 33.5 devices based on the 335 million users of the iPhone that is expected by the end of 2014. Consequently, Bachman believes that 33.5 iWatches will be sold in calendar 2015.

If Apple were able to see 15% of present iPhone users buying the smartwatch that would mean over 50 million would be sold by Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), while 20% would work out to sales of 67 million units.

According to the note, Bachman is using $250 as Apple’s asking price with gross margins around 25%. Once he extrapolated this, he thinks that 10% penetration of existing iPhone users would add 3.1% to Apple’s earnings per share in 2015.

“We think a key driver of adoption will be meaningful applications,” Bachman wrote. “We believe that the initial focus will be health and fitness applications, but to reach 20% adoption levels, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) will need to have more applications than just health and fitness, to include applications for professional/work usage.”

BMO rates Apple as “outperform”

BMO Capital Markets is still calling for Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) to “outperform” and recently raised its target price to $98. This price, of course, reflects Apple’s recent 7-for-one stock split that occurred at the beginning of the week’s trading.

Rumors regarding the “iWatch” abound on the Internet to the point of inevitability and we’ve certainly fueled a number of them. Today, however, let’s stick to Bachman’s predictions and wait for Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) to make an announcement. At least until we see a slow news day, where I’m forced to make wild guesses as to what the product will offer consumers.