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Caris ups Apple target; Survey: Macs gaining ground on campuses

Analysts for Caris & Company on Monday upped their price target on shares of Apple to $200 from $175, citing expectations for a blowout holiday quarter. Meanwhile, a new survey has found that Macs are ascending on college campuses in droves, thanks largely to student discount and incentive programs.

Apple target upped at Caris

In a research note released Monday morning by Caris & Co., analyst Shebly Seyrafi reiterated his "Above Average" rating on Apple, but raised his price target from $175 to $200 a share.

Seyrafi is expecting the company to announce later today per-share earnings of $0.98 on sales of $6.2 billion for its fiscal fourth quarter of 2007 ended September. His model for the quarter is based on sales of 1.4 million iPhones, 11.5 million iPods and 2.05 million Macs.

Looking ahead to the current quarter ending December (Q108), Seyrafi is predicting Apple to earn $1.43 per share on revenues of $8.4 billion, driven by sales of 2.5 million iPhones, 24 million iPods, and 2.15 million Macs.

Apple's Mac ascending at Colleges

While Dell remains the most popular computer brand among college students, survey results published Monday by SurveyU reveal that Apple is gaining ground thanks to the tandem of its discounted student purchase programs and its iPod halo-effect.

The survey of 1000 online participants earlier this month found that the success of the Mac maker's back-to-school and educational programs are a significant contributor to its on-campus momentum, with more than 4 of 5 (83 perent) of Mac-owning students having purchased their Mac under a student plan that included a free iPod.

Slightly less than a third (30 percent) of Dell’s collegiate sales were made under a similar plan, SurveyU said, while the remaining computer manufacturers did not fully leveraged the power of discount or incentive programs.

"US College students have spent an average of $1,290 on their computers, resulting in more than $22 billion spent by those currently in college.” said Dan Coates, co-founder of SurveyU. "Given that colleges are swelling to accommodate the massive  Millennial generation, PC manufacturers would do well to get in front of this critical consumer segment."

Results


The impact of the iPod on computer purchase decision-making is also undeniable, the survey found, with current iPod owners more likely to be current Mac users (29 percent versus 23 percent) as well as future Mac purchasers (52 percent versus 44 percent).  Computer brand choice varied by gender, with female collegians more likely to choose Apple, Sony and Toshiba and male college students preferring Alienware, Dell and Lenovo brands.

According to SurveyU , college students are mobile and therefor their choice of notebooks versus desktops reflects their demand for portability.  More than 4 out of 5 college students use a laptop as their primary computer, the organization said.