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50M iPhone sales, 'booming' iPad mini expected in Apple's holiday quarter

Upside to market consensus on Apple is expected from one Wall Street analyst, who sees a big holiday quarter for both the iPhone 5 and iPad mini.

Rob Cihra of Evercore Partners updated his projections for Apple's December quarter on Thursday in anticipation of the company's quarterly earnings report, scheduled for Jan. 23. Cihra expects Apple to report sales of 50 million iPhones, a 35 percent year over year increase and 86 percent growth from the previous quarter.

As for Apple's newly expanded iPad lineup, Cihra believes the company sold 24 million touchscreen tablets in the quarter, representing 56 percent year-over-year growth and a 71 percent boost from the September quarter.

In particular, he expects iPad growth to be driven by the iPad mini, which he believes accounted for 10 million units during the quarter. Cihra also noted that supply of the iPad mini remains constrained with strong demand continuing after what he called a "booming launch."


While strong performances are expected from the iPhone and iPad, Cihra believes Mac sales will decrease 3 percent year over year, hitting 5 million units in the December quarter. He attributed his forecast to limited early supply of the new iMac desktops.

Apple's record setting pace in the December quarter is expected to have consequences going forward, though. Cihra believes the company's rapid roll-out of the iPhone 5 will lead to production cuts in the March quarter, where he has forecast sales of 39 million units.

Cihra has trimmed his price target for AAPL stock to $750, down from his previous forecast of $775. But he has also maintained his "overweight" rating for the stock, and noted his figures are "wholly conservative."