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Wednesday, December 14, 2011, 06:37 pm PT (09:37 pm ET)

US iPhone, iPad demand more than 40% stronger than expected

An Alphawise survey of American purchasing intentions indicates that US iPhone and iPad demand are stronger than expected; sales will continue to outperform expectations into 2012 and should enable Apple to beat estimates next year.

The survey results, reported by Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty, noted that "survey results and recent comments by AT&T indicate Apple iPhone shipments could reach 31-36 million in the calendar Q4 2011 compared to our model of 30 million."

Huberty also stated that purchase intentions indicate a sequential uptick in demand for the first quarter of 2012, for which the firm had previously modeled a sequential decline of 7 percent. Morgan Stanley had estimated 28 million iPhones in the first calendar quarter of next year, while the survey estimates sales of 41 million.



Apple's share gains, combined with broader smartphone penetration data points to strong, long term iPhone growth, the report stated, indicating that 30 percent of handset owners plan to buy an iPhone, nearly double the 16 percent who are existing owners.

Huberty also noted that the tablet market will "continue to enjoy strong growth," with purchasing intentions (27 percent) triple that of the installed base (8 percent of respondents).

The firm models sales of 52 million iPads and 134 million iPhones in 2012, while it notes that latest survey indicates demand for 82 million iPads and 190 million iPhones next year, an increase of 42 to 56 percent above its internal estimates.

The report notes that the introduction of a cheaper iPad would significantly increase demand, particularly from new adopters. At a price point of $399, Apple could gain 22 million additional buyers.

Apple is expected to introduce a new high resolution iPad 3 alongside a discounted iPad 2 model, similar to its discounted iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 models that sell alongside the latest iPhone 4S.