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Monday, November 15, 2010, 12:05 pm PT (03:05 pm ET)

Apple on pace to sell as many as 4.3M Macs over holidays

New retail sales data shows that Mac sales are up 20 percent year over year, putting Apple on pace to sell between 4.1 million and 4.3 million computers over the holidays.

Domestic sales figures for the month of October were released by the NPD Group on Monday. Analyst Gene Munster with Piper Jaffray noted that the new MacBook Air notebooks were not released until later in the month, so he expects November sales to skew higher, when a full month of sales are included.

Munster said the numbers for October show Apple will sell between 4.1 million and 4.3 million Macs over the holidays, which is about in line with Wall Street expectations of 4.2 million.

"This early data, along with our assumptions for international Mac sales, which are growing faster than domestic Mac sales, and the final 2 months of the quarter, implies (year over year) Mac unit growth of 22%-28%, in line with the Street at about 24% y/y growth," Munster wrote.

The numbers show Apple on pace to have yet another record breaking quarter for Mac sales. In the previous September quarter, Apple sold 3.89 million Macs, which represents the company's best-ever three-month frame.

NPD figures also suggest Apple will sell between 18.5 million and 19.5 million iPods in the December quarter, also in line with Wall Street expectations of about 19 million. Sales were down 6 percent year-over-year in October.