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Apple seen selling 100 million iPhones, 40 million iPads in 2011


Any drop in Apple's share price tomorrow "presents a buying opportunity ahead of earnings," according to the latest analyst to weigh in on the impact Steve Jobs' leave of absence may have on investors, noting an improved outlook for iOS and more favorable component costs than previously expected.

Morgan Stanley analyst Kathy Huberty filed a brief noting "We are buyers on any meaningful pullback of Apple's share price. We expect the company to report strong December quarter results Tuesday night and continue to believe our bull case of CY11 $25 EPS (vs. consensus of $20.68) is increasingly likely on the back of stronger than expected iPhone/iPad shipments and gross margins."

Over 100 million iPhones and 40 million iPads

Huberty recently returned from an trip to Asia, noting "the supply chain continues to indicate potential upside to over 100M iPhones and over 40M iPads, versus our current 72M and 30M estimates (both of which are above consensus).

"In addition to upward revisions from the recent Verizon launch, our meetings highlighted long iPhone lead times in China given strong demand. iPad touch panels, the major bottleneck over the past several quarters and 10-15% of the iPad's bill of materials, are now produced at 90% manufacturing yields with potential cost benefits passed on to Apple this year."

For Apple's December quarter representing fiscal 2011 Q1, Morgan Stanley forecasts $23.9B in revenue and $5.25 EPS on estimated sales of 16 million iPhones, 5.5 millions iPads, 17 million iPods and 4 million Macs.

"Our checks point to modest upside to all product categories but we view iPhone and iPad unit and gross margin upside as the key drivers of a potential EPS beat," Huberty wrote.