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Gene Munster: Apple to Sell 5 Million iPhones This Quarter

One of the more highly regarded Apple analysts, Piper Jaffray’s Gene Munster, has recently raised his fourth quarter sales estimates, which ends on September 30.

In a report issued today based on sales data from the NPD Group, Munster notes that he is “incrementally more confident” in unit sales for each of Apple’s three primary product lines and has subsequently raised targets to:

•    Mac units of 2.8 million (vs. 2.5 million previously) in Q4
•    iPod units of 11 million (vs. 10.8 million)
•    iPhone units of 5 million (vs. 4.1 million)

When combined with the 2.4 million first generation iPhones sold in the first half of this year, the total number of iPhones sold in 2008 would near 7.4 million.

While Apple has remained adamant about selling 10 million iPhones this year, following reports of FoxConn ramping production to 800,000 units per week, which had lead many to believe that Apple may achieve this goal before the end of September.  However, If Munster is correct, either the production rates were incorrect or have simply slowed since August.

Last quarter, which ended in June, the iPhone had made up only 4% of booked revenue, while this quarter, Munster estimates that the iPhone will account for 21% which for the first time will make up a “meaningful percentage.”

He has since created a new metric to display this change which accounts for the full value of each each sale as opposed to spreading it out over the average service contract of two years.  “Munster on Monday increased his estimate of Apple’s fourth quarter earnings 13%, from his previous estimate of $1.04 a share to $1.17 a share (the Street estimate is $1.11 a share). But under his new metric, booked EPS would come in at $1.60 a share, up 15%.” He has additionally kept an unwavering AAPL price target of $250 for 2009, allowing for substantial room to grow.

[via Fortune]

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