Apple will sell 45 million iPhones by 2009 and has three million units ready to ship around the US this month for the official launch.

These are the latest claims to emerge from US analysts last night, when Piper Jaffray's Gene Munster shouted his odds. So confident in sales success is Munster that he also raised his target price on Apple stock from $140 to $160 per share.

Munster's move was echoed by UBS analyst Ben Reitzes, who also raised his target to $160, this time from $133. Reitzes estimates that Apple will sell almost one million iPhones in the second half of this year, and sales could reach 7.4 million units in 2008.

Munster predicts Apple could capture 7 per cent of the US mobile market and 2.8 per cent of the global market for mobile handsets within two years.

The analyst warned that the device's lack of 3G support and the durability of the iPhone screen may emerge as inhibitor's for Apple's iPhone's market gains.

Goldman Sachs analyst David Bailey told Business Week: "There’s no reason to think that Apple can’t continue to take share in an increasing market for smart phones, based on its leadership in software and user interface. They’re filling a gap in the market that is quite large at this point."

In related news, some eagle-eyed US iPhone watchers have noticed that the warning that people who want the device will be required to sign-up for a two-year contract with AT&T has disappeared from much of the product's advertising. This has led some to wonder if the device will be available on a pay-as-you-go tariff.