iotpixAs Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference gets underway this week, speculation continues about whether we’ll see a preview of the long-awaited iWatch smart watch, along with more expected developments such as an update to the OS X operating system to bring it closer to resembling Apple’s mobile operating system experience. Rumors tout the iWatch as a device that will run iOS and include biometrics and health and fitness capabilities.

But even if the watch doesn’t appear until later this year, Apple’s timing is still on the right track – as is Microsoft’s fitness-focused, heart-rate monitoring smartwatch that is expected to debut this summer.

new report from technology research firm ON World that surveyed 1,000 U.S. consumers finds that “wristworn devices are preferred by the majority of consumers who are most interested in a general purpose smart watch rather than dedicated fitness devices such as activity trackers and heart rate monitors.”  One in five consumers either have or are planning to purchase a wearable technology product by next year and close to one-third are likely to purchase a wearable technology within two years, it finds.

Almost half of the likely smart watch consumers are interested in using a yet-to-be-launched Apple smart watch followed by Samsung’s Gear, Sony’s SmartWatch, Pebble and a Microsoft smart watch, it says. Smart glasses and rings, smart heart rate monitors, smart clothing, and activity trackers are also on their want lists, but, says Mareca Hatler, ON World’s research director in a statement, “Wristworn devices are preferred by the majority of consumers who are most interested in a general purpose smart watch rather than dedicated fitness devices such as activity trackers and heart rate monitors.”

Personal wellness and connected health, according to an IDC Internet of Things forecast released earlier this year, is one of the key vertical markets for the Internet of Things, which is expected to be worth about $7.3 trillion in technology and services by 2017. (See this guest post on why RDF is critical to a successful Internet of Things.) Other verticals that present the greatest IoT opportunities, it says, include smart meters, the smart grid, the connected car and the connected home.

Apple also is sticking its foot further into that last space, with reports like this one appearing that we may hear some additional news from the vendor about its plans for the iPhone to take a management role in the connected home arena. GigaOM says the effort is starting off simply, based on Apple’s certification of connected devices to assure consumers that the smart home products they buy can be controlled from iOS devices.