Apple share reached a new 52-week high yesterday, boosted by positive iPod sales predictions from Piper Jaffray and continued strong market performance.

Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster believes Apple could sell up to 15 million iPods in its current Christmas quarter.

“While it is way too early to make a call on December quarter iPod results, we have analysed the first month of NPD data (October) for the quarter and found that it suggests iPod units of 14-15 million,” Munster said in the report.

Red-hot rumours claiming the company is working towards the release of a combined iPod on-cum-mobile phone also boosted investor optimism, driving shares up $1.56 on trading yesterday.

Analysts predict the release of such a device could drop an additional $6 billion into the company's revenues next year.

The rumour took on new life this week, when a local Taiwanese report claimed the company has now ordered 12 million units of the device to be manufactured by Hon Hai's Foxconn subsidiary. Foxconn already manufactures iPods for the company.

Apple shares currently stand at $85.61, inching toward street consensus top value estimates of between $90 and $101 per share. The company now has a market capital of $73.02 billion.