Good news for Apple (AAPL) investors ahead of Wednesday’s earnings report: December quarter iPod sales could surprise, and Mac sales look in-line with expectations, according to Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster. In a report today, Munster estimates:
- 19-20 million iPods shipped during the December quarter, beating the Street’s 18.6 million expectation, based on analysing retail data from research firm NPD Group.
- 2.5-2.6 million Macs shipped, in line with the Street’s ~2.5 million expectation.
Less clear: How many iPhones Apple shipped during the quarter. Some channel fill with new international carriers and possibly Walmart (WMT) will help. But Munster says “domestic headwinds” could challenge his estimate of 6.4 million iPhones shipped. (Wall Street expects 5 million.) During the September quarter, Apple shipped 6.9 million iPhones, but 2 million of those were channel inventory.
Munster expects Apple to post $10.0 billion of revenue, above the Street’s $9.7 billion consensus, and $1.32 in EPS, below the Street’s $1.39 consensus. He expects Apple to guide conservatively — as usual — to $7.6 billion in March quarter revenue, 7% below consensus, and EPS to about $0.90, about 20% below consensus.