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iPhone 4 demand predicted to drive Apple to 9.5M June quarter sales

With record breaking demand for the new iPhone 4 on the first day of preorders, one prominent analyst believes Apple will sell 9.5 million total handsets in the June quarter, while a new breakdown of preorders suggests popularity of the 16GB model.

Gene Munster with Piper Jaffray issued a note to investors on Wednesday, in which he increased his June quarter iPhone sales estimate by 1 million, to 9.5 million. He noted that the June 24 date gives Apple 6 days of sales before the end of the month. Last year, Apple sold over a million of the iPhone 3GS in its first three days.

Munster said he believes all of the 8.4 million iPhone users activated at AT&T between September 2008 and June 2009 are eligible for upgrade pricing, thanks to the wireless carrier's six month window extension for upgrade eligibility pricing. The analyst cited a poll from The Wall Street Journal which indicated that 62 percent of current iPhone owners expect to upgrade to iPhone 4, while another 19 percent said they may upgrade.

"These numbers imply that 5.2 million AT&T (subscribers) could upgrade to iPhone 4," Munster wrote. "Assuming 25% upgrade at launch (June quarter) and the remaining 75% upgrade later, out analysis implies 1.3M iPhone 4 upgrades on AT&T in the June quarter."

Separately, AppleInsider received data on iPhone preorders that suggest most customers at one store — roughly 55 percent — opted for the lower capacity 16GB iPhone 4. The remaining 45 percent of tracked preorders were for the 32GB model. Both represented sales of the black device, as Apple is not currently taking preorders for the white iPhone 4.

And reports from German Telekom on Tuesday said that demand for iPhone 4 was 10 times higher than for the iPhone 3GS last year. The carrier said it does not believe it will be able to satisfy all who want to buy an iPhone 4 on the June 24 launch date next week. Similarly, AT&T indicated that Tuesday was its busiest online sales day ever, as the carrier completely sold out of launch day handset preorders.

Both Apple and AT&T had difficulty satisfying demand for iPhone 4 on the first day of preorders, with AT&T's verification system struggling, and Apple's 800 number rejecting calls for a portion of the morning.

Looking past next week's launch, Munster believes Apple will sell another 9.5 million handsets in the September quarter, an estimate up 500,000 from his previous projection. The analyst based his increase on the fact that iPhone 4 will be available in 88 countries by September 2010, compared with just 64 countries for the iPhone 3GS in September 2009.

"The faster pace of the international rollout in the Sept. quarter will likely have a positive impact on sales in the first full quarter of iPhone sales (the quarter with the majority of additional rollouts in international geographies)," Munster wrote. "That said, we are now modeling for iPhone units to be flat sequentially in the Sept-10 quarter, much lower than the 41% (quarter over quarter) growth seen in Sept-09 under similar circumstances with the iPhone 3GS launch (but fewer countries added in the quarter)."

Piper Jaffray has increased its price target for AAPL stock to $348, up from $330. The projection calls for $59.2 billion in revenue in the 2010 fiscal year, with $13.07 earnings per share.