Holiday Apple Mac Sales "Ginormous" (AAPL)

Apple fans (and investors) will hear about the company’s newest products tomorrow when Steve Jobs gives his annual Macworld keynote. (See our Macworld coverage so far.) More good news could come on Jan. 22 when the company reports its December-quarter results. New research from RBC Capital Markets and Piper Jaffray suggests Apple’s holiday Mac sales soared, while the firms disagree on holiday iPod sales.

RBC: Proprietary research suggests “ginormous” and “massive” Mac sales during fiscal Q1 (calendar Q4). RBC estimates a record 2.5 million Macs sold during the quarter, up 14% q/q and up 54% y/y. Mac laptops are expected to make up the bulk of sales: 1.6 million laptops (up 16% q/q, up 61% y/y), vs. 900,000 desktops (up 11% q/q, 43% y/y).

RBC analyst Mike Abramsky writes that 25% of Best Buy reps that his firm surveyed said that Macs were the most popular brand of PC. RBC estimates Apple’s computer market share will hit 3.8% worldwide during calendar 2008, up from an estimated 3.1% in 2007 and 2.4% in 2006. In the U.S., RBC estimates Macs will reach 9.6% computer market share in calendar 2008 vs. 7.2% in 2007 and 5.4% in 2006.

Holiday iPod sales are expected to be less strong: est. 24.4 million units sold, vs. previous estimate of 25.3 million units.

Piper Jaffray: Analyst Gene Munster expects fiscal Q1 sales of 2.3 million Macs, representing 43% y/y unit growth. If Apple reports 2.3 million Macs solid, Munster says, “it would be a significant positive.” (So RBC’s guess of 2.5 million would be even better for AAPL.)

Munster expects iPod sales of 25 million to 26 million, beating 24.7 million Street consensus.

See Also: How Apple Won Over Hollywood
iTunes: Not Going DRM-Free Yet
Blu-ray Not Coming To Apple’s Macs

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