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Thursday, July 08, 2010, 10:10 am PT (01:10 pm ET)

Apple shares expected to rise steadily on record 9.5 million iPhones

Shares of electronics maker Apple are set climb higher over the next 90 days, given financial research that shows the company to be in position to report significant upside to all three of its major product platforms for the June quarter.

As some analysts have begun reducing their estimated iPhone sales for Apple's June quarter citing limited availability, Piper Jaffray said Thursday it is sticking with its projection of 9.5 million sold in the three month frame.

"Ultimately we remain comfortable with our 9.5m iPhone estimate vs. the Street at 8.7m, but recognize that changes in channel inventory add uncertainty to our number," analyst Gene Munster wrote. "The June quarter is affected by channel drain/fill dynamics that are difficult to estimate due to the removal of all three iPhone 3G and 3GS SKUs and the addition of three new iPhone SKUs."

After the iPhone 4 was released in late June, Apple announced that it sold 1.7 million in its first three days, marking the strongest debut for an iPhone yet. But Apple sold out of its initial allotment of preorders on the first day, and supplies have been limited since.

That headwind, Munster said, could represent between a million and 1.5 million phones in the June quarter.

"Regardless, any headwind in the June quarter will represent a tailwind in Sept. given the strong early sales figures," the analyst wrote, "and we continue to believe the iPhone 4 will exceed current expectations throughout its lifecycle."

Piper Jaffray


Munster also expects Apple to announce it sold 3.2 million Macs, greater than Wall Street's expectation of 3.1 million. Recent NPD data from May showed that Mac sales were up 35 percent year-over-year in May. Munster said when the domestic retail sales data for June arrives on July 19, he may have to revise his Mac estimate even higher.

The picture on iPad sales is perhaps the most clear, as only a few days before the quarter ended on June 26, Apple announced that it had sold 3 million iPads in its first 80 days. Munster believes Apple sold another 200,000 in the last few days of the quarter, bringing his projection to 3.2 million for the three-month frame.

Piper Jaffray has maintained its overweight rating for Apple stock, with a price target of $351. Apple is set to announce its earnings after the market closes on Tuesday, July 20. AppleInsider will have full coverage.