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Friday, April 13, 2012, 04:53 am PT (07:53 am ET)

Apple expected to report sales of 33M iPhones, 12M iPads to start 2012

With Apple to report its earnings in just a week and a half, the company is projected to reveal sales of 33 million iPhones and 12 million iPads to kick off calendar 2012.

Those are the the latest projections from Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster, whose numbers differ from the average expectations on Wall Street. Munster's 33 million iPhone projection is a bit higher than the Street's forecast of 30.5 million handsets, while his forecast of 12 million iPads is slightly below the Street's 13 million.

Munster also sees Apple reporting sales of 4.3 million Macs in the three-month span from January to March, slightly below Wall Street's expected 4.4 million.

If Apple's actual results are in line with the last four years, it will report 6 percent upside on its revenue, and 16 percent upside to earnings per share. That would imply March revenue of $38.3 billion and earnings per share of $11.41, compared to Wall Street expectations of $36.2 billion in revenue and $9.86 EPS.

On the iPhone, Munster said the record 37 million iPhones that Apple sold in the holiday season of 2011 is evidence of the handset's growing global footprint. He thinks the next major catalyst for the company will be the launch of a sixth-generation iPhone later this year, though he also expects Apple to announce a full-fledged television set late in the December quarter, with sales starting in 2013.

On the iPad, Munster said he isn't concerned that Apple may not meet the Street's expectations of 13 million units sold. He believes most investors will give the company a pass, given that the new iPad got off to a record start, with 3 million units sold in its first three days, in mid-March.

Piper


"We note that wait-times on Apple's online store remain at 1-2 weeks for all versions of the iPad, suggesting that healthy demand remains," he noted.

Piper Jaffray has reiterated its "overweight" rating for AAPL stock, and also maintained its $910 12-month price target. Earlier this month, Munster also predicted that Apple would become the world's first trillion-dollar company by market cap in calendar year 2014.