iPods could account 5 per cent of Apple's overall sales, a leading market analyst said yesterday.

Needham and Co. analyst Charles Wolf estimates Apple could yield $274 million in sales of iPods in 2003 – 5 per cent of anticipated total sales. Speaking to Forbes, Wolf points out that Apple sold 304,000 iPods in its third quarter, against Wall Street estimates of 75,000.

Wolf expects that the new version of iTunes for Window's users – to be launched later this year – will also help boost Apple's sales overall.

In a report last month, Wolf estimated that Apple's annual revenue from the post-Windows iTunes store will be around $600 million with operating income of approximately $60 million.

Although iTunes music sales represent a profit of less than ten cents per song, Wolf believes that sales of iPods that are driven by the iTunes store are likely to represent a far larger profit.

Based on input from FT Interactive Data, Multex and Thomson First Call, Forbes reports that Apple should see actualized long-term growth of 12 per cent “over the next three-to-five years”.