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Piper Jaffray estimates a big boost in Mac sales

In a report issued today (cited by Apple 2.0 and SAI), Piper Jaffray's leading light on all things AAPL gazed into his crystal ball and served up some notes on NPD retail sales data. Gene Munster's numbers are especially interesting as we head into tomorrow's earnings report.

The lowdown: Munster is looking for a Mac sales number between 2.8 and 2.9 million machines, based off of NPD's retail data showing a 25% year over year boost in Mac sales for the quarter. He's also looking for iPod sales between 9 and 10 million, and 7.5 million iPhone sales. What's weird is that NPD data showed Mac sales up 39% for January and February... perhaps there was a March slowdown as anticipation built for new laptop models.

Considering that Q2 2009 was a record quarter for both revenue and earnings for Apple -- 2.22 million Macs sold, 11 million iPods and 3.79 million iPhones -- it will be interesting to see where this year's numbers end up, with a rebounding economy and more outlets for the iPhone 3GS. This is the second quarter of Apple's new revenue recognition scheme for iPhone and Apple TV, meaning every single sale of an iPhone hits the bottom line in full force (not to mention the 1/8th share of iPhone sale prices from previous quarters).

Apple 2.0 has its quarterly rundown of analyst predictions at the ready, with a consensus earnings number close to 12 billion. I'll get out my dartboard and make my predictions here: Revenues of $12.79B, 3.25 million Macs sold, 7.75m iPhones sold.

Disclaimer: I hold a small long-term position in AAPL.

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