World economic gloom and fear of recession may dent Apple's iPod sales in the current quarter, while the key company growth driver seems set to become Mac sales, separate analyst reports claimed last night.
BMO Capital Markets analyst Keith Bachman cut his price target on Apple's stock to $140 a share from $160, warning: "Apple's three growth drivers (iPods, iPhones and Macs) have now turned to one," the Mac.
He raised his Mac sales estimates to 9.4 million units from 8.2 million for Apple's current fiscal year, which ends in September. Bachman also raised his forecast for Mac sales for Apple's current quarter to 2.06 million units from 1.87 million.
The analyst warned that Apple may fail to meet its ten million iPhone sales target for the year (he predicts 8.5 million sales), and reported a slow down in the rate of growth of iPod sales, sparking fear of imminent market saturation.
However, the analyst's warning should be tempered with Bachman's decision to maintain his outperform rating on Apple's stock, and his observation that introducing the iPhone into new markets, the addition of new carriers and lowered iPhone prices could improve Apple's growth prospects.
Fretting over iPod sales should perhaps be considered in light of the analyst's estimate that Apple will sell 51.1 million iPods, rather than the 54.6 million he originally anticipated.
Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster also warns of an iPod slowdown, suggesting analysis of NPD data capturing the first month of March quarter iPod sales hints these will reach between 9.5-10.3 million, against consensus estimates of 10.8 million.
However, Munster's warning is a little less stark, as the analyst notes he hasn't factored in recent iPod shuffle price cuts and the figures cover only one month of the quarter. However, if his figures are borne out then this will be the first quarter in which iPod sales figures have declined, year-on-year.