Apple Investor: Wall Street Sees Up To 400K iPads Sold This Weekend

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AAPL Shares Take A Breather, Pull Back Slightly
AAPL shares slipped slightly yesterday closing the first calendar quarter at $235.00 (20x estimated fiscal-year 2010 EPS and 19x Enterprise Value / Trailing Twelve Months Free Cash Flow). Upcoming catalysts include the launch of the iPad (in two days); analyst previews of the March quarter (likely raising earnings estimates); March NPD data on Mac unit sales; the launch of the next generation iPhone this summer; and the Verizon launch anticipated later this year.

Wall Street Analysts See Strong First Weekend For iPad
Apple analysts are vocal again this morning on what to expect this weekend.

  • Gene Munster at Piper Jaffray believes Apple will sell an additional 200-300K iPads this weekend bringing his total unit estimate to 2.7 million in calendar 2010. He believes this may be conservative given strong initial demand. Munster says the breakout year for the iPad will ultimately be next year (calendar 2011) with 8 million iPad units estimated to be sold. He maintains his Overweight rating and $284 price-target.
  • Mike Abramsky at RBC is increasing his iPad estimates because of strong demand (greater than that of the iPhone). He expects Apple to ship 300-400K iPads this weekend. He has increased his fiscal year 2010 estimates to $55.6 billion in revenue (30% year-over-year growth), $12.04 EPS and 2.5 million iPad units. Abramsky reiterates his Outperform rating and $275 price-target.

Apple Missing Key Video Content For iPad Launch (All Things D)
Peter Kafka at All Things D points out that while most studios or content providers (Hulu, Netflix, ABC, CBS, etc.) have “plans” for the iPad, most of their content won’t be available at launch. The lack of content could be one of the reasons most analysts believe that next year, not this year will be the big year for the iPad.  Remember, the iPad doesn’t support Flash so users won’t be able to watch Hulu on the iPad’s web browser.

Apple iPad Reviews: The Good, The Bad And The Ugly (Fortune)
Two of tech’s high profile writers published their opinions on the iPad yesterday, and they couldn’t have been more different. The New York Times’ David Pogue says the iPad is “basically a gigantic iPod Touch.” On the other hand, Walt Mossberg of The Wall Street Journal and All Things D loves it. He says it has the “potential to change portable computing profoundly,” and challenge the netbook and laptop market. If that proves true, Wall Street analysts might have to take another look at their PC forecasts.

iPad App Development Losing Steam? It’s All Relative (Appcelerator)
iPad application developers have lost some of the enthusiasm for developing new products according to a new study out by Appcelerator. While still remarkably high, interest has fallen 10-percentage points from 90% interested in January to 80% in March. Bart Decrem, CEO of Tapulous (maker of one of the most popular iPhone apps) believes the decline in interest is due to;

  • Crowded market (175,000 iPhone apps)
  • Short development window (with limited access to the iPad)
  • Increasing distractions (other mobile platforms)

That said, given the launch this weekend, it’s likely that activity will increase once again.

The Possibilities For Apple’s Cash Are Endless (TidBITS)
Analysts are looking for Apple to end the current quarter with about $40 Billion in cash on its books. What are some of the possible uses for this cash? Adam C. Engst at TidBITS outlines some of the more far-fetched ideas:

  • Design the Mac’s next computer processing unit (CPU)
  • Build even more data centres (which it already is doing with its cloud computing initiative)
  • Create the iCar
  • Buy and shut down Dell and give the money back to shareholders
  • Buy and rebuild Haiti

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