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Thursday, April 20, 2006, 11:00 am PT (02:00 pm ET)

PiperJaffray updates expectations for future Apple products

Following Apple's earnings announcement on Wednesday, analysts for PiperJaffray weighed in with their predictions what new products may be in the company's pipeline and when they may first appear.

Analyst Gene Munster told clients on Thursday he expects Apple will launch higher capacity iPod nanos and a new video iPod later this year.

"Last night, Portal Player announced that its PP5021 SoC, which will be available in the second half of 2006, has not been selected for use on mid-range and high-range flash-based iPods," the analyst said in a research note. Munster believes the announcement provides some confirmation that Apple will indeed launch higher capacity iPod nanos, such as 8GB and 10GB models, later this year.

"We expect to see a higher capacity iPod nano in the market in late summer or early fall," the analyst wrote. "Releasing new nanos during the back-to-school timeframe would allow Apple to capitalize on this seasonally stronger buying period, but, more importantly, we need to see the products in the market by October-November to take full advantage of holiday buying."

While Munster does expect Apple to launch a large screen video iPod at some point, he said it's difficult to pin-point the timing of such a rollout. "Apple's strategy could be to wait for increased availability of video content on iTunes, such as feature film, which would likely cause the company to hold back on launching in 2006," he said.

Meanwhile, Munster predicts Apple will not announce an Intel iBook (MacBook) until July, seeing as Apple said its strong educational buying months fall between July and September. "Also," the analyst said, "Apple's guidance for the June quarter does not appear to factor in an uptick in iBook, adding to our confidence that the new iBook won't ship until July."

Due to the fact that many professionals are awaiting on Intel-native Adobe software before upgrading to Apple's new Intel Macs, Munster does not expect a new PowerMac until the fall months of Sept. through Nov.

The analyst also predicts Apple will ship Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard at Macworld in January 2007 and says Boot Camp will be "the most significant new feature" in the operating system update.

PiperJaffray maintains an Outperform rating on Apple shares with a price target of $99.