Apple seems set to blow Wall Street estimates apart when it reveals its 2005 financial results next week.
Analyst after analyst have been issuing positive client guidance notes recently, with Apple's consensus target share price inexorably edging North.
First Albany yesterday raised Apple target price to $60 from $53, citing its belief that the iPod nano will drive demand.
iPod, Mac sales go up, up, up
"Despite the stock's run and the inevitability that Apple's growth rate will eventually slow, we think renewed iPod demand/leverage and continued central processing unit-share gains should enable sustained stock momentum through the end of the year," said Analyst Joel Wagonfeld.
More optimism from Merrill Lynch analyst Richard Farmer. He expects Apple's Mac revenue to grow 25 per cent over the $1.23 billion it took one year ago. Apple is not just an iPod company.
It's the tip of the iceberg, explains CBS MarketWatch: "By many indications Wall Street won't be surprised if Apple thoroughly exceeds consensus expectations," it reports.
Welcome the new uber-Apple
iPods are an important part of the new uber-Apple mix: analysts are predicting anything up to 10 million iPod sales in the coming quarter, and expect 8.5 million to have sold in the quarter Apple reports next week. And that's a 300 per cent increase, year-on-year.
The optimism is driven by huge sales of the new iPod nano, with some major electronics retailers reporting sales of multiple thousands every week.
Convergence and conversion
Next week's heavily-hyped announcement on October 12 is also driving yet more optimism the company's way.
Many expect the fabled video iPod will move from myth to reality that day.
Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster said such a device would: "Open the door for future product innovations as the company continues to branch out into being more of a central player in digital and mobile convergence."
American Technology Research analyst Shaw Wu said: "After spending the past two years studying this market and negotiating with content partners, it appears Apple is ready to go to market with a first generation video-capable iPod."
Apple will reveal its financial results for its fourth quarter on October 11.
The following day it will reveal "just one more thing" for 2005.