With the US population recently crossing the 300 million mark, Apple executives should be fairly excited at news that 17 per cent of Amercan adults are already interested in buying an iPhone,

Harris Interactive surveyed 1,116 adults aged 18-years or more across the US in mid-February, and its findings confirm that Apple has managed to hit gold dust when it comes to stimulating interest in its future-focused iPhone.

"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," Harris Interactive observed.

Harris Interactive's Technology Practice vice president, Joseph Porus, 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."

To make it more interesting, the poll also found that 9 per cent of the 17 per cent of US adults interested in acquiring an iPhone are likely to buy an iPhone on the day it is launched. An additional 8 per cent (again of that 17 per cent) will move to an iPhone when their current mobile network contract expires.

An additional 25 per cent of respondents would buy an iPhone if it's ever made available through their carrier, while 40 per cent of potential purchasers plan to be a little canny – they won't buy an iPhone until the price falls.

The survey confirmed that storage is the new focus for consumers investing in this emerging breed of device, with 37 per cent of respondents calling storage the most important iPhone feature.

iPhone quad band worldwide capabilities were favoured by 36 per cent, while the device's innovative Mac OS X-based user interface was rated as most important by 31 per cent of the sample group.

According to the CIA World Factbook, 67.2 per cent of the US population are aged between 15-64-years old.

Apple has admitted it is aiming to sell 10 million iPhones within the product's first year.