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2010 will be 'boom time for Apple'

Xmas sales rather higher than expected

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The final three months were a bumper period for Apple, a long-time company watcher has claimed.

In a note sent to investor clients yesterday, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster said US Mac retail sales were 26 per cent higher in Q4 2009 than they were in Q4 2008. The retail numbers come from market watcher NPD.

That's better growth than even the usually bullish Munster was anticipating. He'd previously forecast shipments of 2.9m Macs worldwide in the period, but now reckons Apple shipped 3.1m.

He hasn't changed his prediction for the quarter's global iPhone shipments: 9.3m of them.

Apple will report its results for the quarter - the first of its 2010 fiscal year - on Monday, 25 January.

That's two days before the big media meet at which it's expected to unveil its iPad tablet, anticipation of which has already begun pushing Apple's share price up around $7 in the last few days. The price currently stands at around $215 - ten times that of chip giant Intel. Time for a four-for-one stock split, Steve?

If Munster is right, the stock will do even better. Wall Street, on average, reckons Mac sales will rise 14 per cent this year when compared to 2009. Munster believes, based on those NPD Q4 figures, that sales will actually rise 20 per cent.

"Keep in mind, before the economic slowdown began Mac units were up 30-40 per cent (year over year) on a quarterly basis," Munster noted. ®

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