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Apple's Mac sales up 50 percent in April

The blistering success of Apple's personal computer business continues to turn heads, with Mac unit sales growing 50 percent year-over-year for the month of April compared to just 17 percent growth by the broader market.

Mac revenues were also up sharply at 46 percent, according to the most recent data from market firm NPD Group, as cited Monday by Lehman Brothers analyst Ben Reitzes in a noted distributed privately to clients.

The rapid growth in April suggests the Cupertino-based company is in good position to report upside to Reitzes' current estimate of 37 percent Mac growth for the three-month period ending June.

Meanwhile, a similar set of data from NPD covering iPods reveals that sales of the media players were up 15 percent in units and 10 percent in dollar sales during April, compared to a rise of 12 percent in units and 4 percent in revenues for the overall market.

"We continue to believe our estimate of a 2 percent year-over-year unit decline in iPods could prove conservative; although year-over-year weekly growth rates have decelerated in May," Reitzes said.

In his note to clients, the Lehman analyst also reiterated his belief that Apple will introduce an updated line of Mac notebooks in time for the back-school season that heats up in the July time frame, which will include redesigned MacBooks, MacBook Pros and more MacBook Airs.

"Checks are indicating that the attractive look of the Air may make its way into other models in terms of slimmer, metallic designs," he said. "We believe these notebooks will be popular for the back-to-school and holiday shopping seasons."

Apple remains the analyst's "top pick" in the IT hardware space. He rates the company's shares as "Overweight," or outperforming those of its similarly situated peers over the next 12 months, with a price target of $202.