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Wednesday, October 06, 2010, 01:50 pm PT (04:50 pm ET)

Apple TV sellouts seen as start of 1M sales per quarter

Just a week after the new Apple TV went on sale, many of Apple's retail stores around the U.S. are sold out of the set top box, with one Wall Street analyst predicting the device is on pace to sell a million per quarter.

"The hobby is a hit," analyst Alex Gauna with JMP Securities declared in a note to investors Wednesday. He said Apple retail stores in San Francisco, Boston, Chicago, New York and Washington D.C. are all sold out of the new Apple TV. In all, he checked with more than 20 different stores.

"Based on restocking figures provided by those store representatives willing to share such data, it seems as though Apple TV is off to an initial quarterly pace of at least one-quarter to one-third that of the iPad, or in the range of a million units or more," he wrote.

While initial sales are by no means an indicator of how the product will do in the long-term, Gauna said there also appears to be limited stock of the device, with levels less than the iPad launch. He expects many new iPad and iPhone buyers this holiday season will also opt for an Apple TV to expand the iOS ecosystem in their home.

If sales of the Apple TV keep up at the predicted pace of about a million per quarter, it would be a huge jump from past sales figures. Another Wall Street analyst has said the previous-generation device sold less than a million units per year.

JMP Securities has a price target of $335 for Apple stock. Its forecast calls for 17.5 million iPhone and iPad units to be shipped in the December quarter.

The new Apple TV, priced at just $99, is a cloud-centric device that emphasizes streaming of content and renting movies and TV shows. It features much less storage, and a significantly smaller physical footprint, than its predecessor.