Monday, May 14, 2012, 02:36 pm PT (05:36 pm ET)
Analyst expects MacBook refresh by June, next-gen iPhone by OctoberAnalyst Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray expects Apple to firm up Mac sales during the June quarter with a refresh to its MacBook, iMac and possibly MacBook Air lines, but believes that the biggest product rollout in the coming six months will be the October launch of a new iPhone.
Mac NPD units were down 13 percent year-to-year in April, but Munster notes that it has been over a year since Apple's MacBook and iMac lines saw a "meaningful refresh" and sees sales rebounding following the release of new MacBooks and iMacs sometime before June. The MacBook Pro may be ripe for a major redesign as the most recent came four years ago in late 2008.
The initial numbers for April are similar to those of the previous quarter and appear to be soft, though in March actual Mac growth outpaced NPD's figures by 12 percent with a positive 7 percent year-to-year rate.
In March 2011, the yearly Mac refresh resulted in an acceleration of unit sales from the mid-teens to almost 50 percent year-over-year. Next generation MacBook Pros powered by Intel's new Ivy Bridge processors could see a rumored design overhaul which would combine the slim chassis of a MacBook Air with the power of a full-featured laptop.
It has also been speculated that the iMac will also receive minor design modifications while some reports suggest that Apple will offer a new anti-reflective display never before seen on a Mac desktop.
Munster agrees with Street consensus and estimates worldwide Mac sales to be up about 15 percent year-to-year in the quarter ending in June which amounts to 4.5 million units. PC sales will equate to approximately 15 percent of Apple's revenue for the quarter.
Looking ahead, Apple shares are expected to "react favorably" to the next-generation iPhone debut sometime in October. The new handset is seen to be the highlight product of the following two quarters and while the final design may not yet be decided, a third quarter launch is seen as likely.
As the impending iPhone readies for launch, purported device components like SIM card trays are beginning to leak from parts suppliers, the latest being a headphone jack, earpiece and Wi-Fi cable. A previous report saw a slightly modified home button that is supposedly destined for use in the next-gen handset.
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