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Monday, July 19, 2010, 06:15 pm PT (09:15 pm ET)

Apple's US Mac sales grow 11% in June, forecasting strong quarter

U.S. Mac sales increased again in June, the third month of Apple's fiscal quarter, growing 11 percent and foreshadowing an announcement of strong sales in Apple's earnings report Tuesday.

The NPD Group on Monday released its domestic Mac sales estimates for the month of June, which showed year-over-year growth for all three months of the June quarter. Analyst Gene Munster said that likely puts Apple on track to announce sales of between 3.1 million and 3.2 million in its quarterly earnings report Tuesday.

Mac sales were up a strong 35 percent stateside in May, following the introduction of the iPad in both Wi-Fi and 3G models. Those sales figures have been interpreted to suggest that Apple's new portable multitouch device will not cannibalize Mac sales.

In addition, NPD estimates for April found that Mac sales were up 39 percent year over year.

If the estimates hold, they would mean that Apple is likely to exceed its Mac sales from last quarter, when the company sold 2.94 million machines to start 2010. Those sales from January through March were accomplished without a new product launch.

June quarter sales, however, will likely be bolstered by new product launches. Early last quarter, Apple launched new MacBook Pros, equipped with Intel's latest Core i7 and Core i5 processors in the high-end 15- and 17-inch models, as well as a refresh to the 13-inch MacBook Pro adding a Nvidia GeForce 320M graphics processor.

Then in May, the company also updated its low-end $999 MacBook, giving it, too, GeForce 320M graphics. And in June, the company redesigned its Mac mini, adding an HDMI port, a built-in SD Card slot, and giving it a unibody enclosure with a built-in power supply.

The latest NPD data for June also shows that iPod sales were down 10 percent year over year, leading to an estimate of between 9 million and 10 million iPod sales. Wall Street expects Apple to report about 9.5 million in Tuesday's earnings.