Apple may ship an astonishing 37 million iPods this year, a leading analyst said last night.

Piper Jaffray’s Gene Munster (who rates Apple an outperforming stock with a $60 target price) made the astonishing claims.

He told Forbes: “We expect the iPod to continue to be a foundation for growth in other parts of Apple's business, and we expect that by the end of calendar 2005 more than 37 million iPods will have shipped, providing Apple with a greater scope of awareness for various products ('halo' effect)."

The analyst said that he thought the waiting time for new iPods and iPod nanos had shortened, and pointed to the sheer number of Apple products within Amazon’s top-selling lists.

He added: “The iPod isn’t the only growth avenue for the company.”