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Friday, January 04, 2013, 12:45 pm PT (03:45 pm ET)

Apple expected to see sustained growth in 2013 while rest of industry stays 'muted'

Growth in the tech sector is expected by one analyst to remain "muted" this year, leaving Apple once again as one of the best ideas for investors to consider.

Amit Daryanani of RBC Capital Markets published a new outlook for the coming year in the technology industry on Friday. In it, his only recommended investments among large-cap tech companies are Apple and EMC.

RBC


"We foresee 2013 to be another year of muted growth but expect demand will be more robust compared to the back half of 2012," Daryanani wrote.

In particular, he foresees PC sales to "remain challenging" this year as touchscreen tablets like Apple's iPad remain a more popular choice for consumers. PC sales could potentially rebound in the second half of the year, he said, thanks to enterprise customers who may be encouraged to upgrade their systems after Microsoft halts support for the Windows XP operating system

As for Apple and its supply chain, Daryanani expects "robust unit growth" over the next year. He has modeled for Apple sales to be up 25 percent in calendar 2013, for a total of 319 million units.

Most market watchers expect that Apple will see its year-over-year gross margins decline in 2013. Daryanani believes that if Apple can maintain or exceed its gross margins from 2012, upside will be seen on the company's earnings estimates.

"From a gross margin perspective, we believe the company should be in the 40-42% range in fiscal year 2013," he wrote. "Notably, a key driver that could add upside to revenue expectations would be the release of a new product line, iTV or otherwise as the company has historically entered a new market on a three years basis."