Goldman Sachs Ups iPod Numbers Based on Holiday Demand

| Apple Stock Watch

Goldman Sachs on Wednesday issued a research note in which the firm increased its expectation of iPod shipments this quarter from 10 million to 11.6 million, in light of strong holiday demand and supply chain checks that show better component availability. As a result, the firm has bumped its EPS forecast to US$0.53.

Goldman Sachs also noted that Macs have "received relatively little of Appleis holiday strength" this quarter, but "this should change." The firm expects new iMacs, iBooks and Mac minis in the first quarter of 2006, with refreshes to the professional line happening the following quarter.

With Apple expected to introduce Intel-based Macs as early as next monthis Macworld trade show in San Francisco, the investment firm increased its revenue and EPS estimates for FY06 to $18.757 billion and $1.83, respectively.

However, Goldman Sachs does see Apple "moving further from its Mac core in 2006, leveraging its brand and building on the consumer success of iPod." While the firm sees next year as "another major year in Appleis transformation," it also warns that the move into the "digital entertainment hub market," as analyst David Bailey describes it, will bring on new competition and challenges.

At the close of the stock markets on Wednesday, Apple shares stood at $73.50, up 1.93% for the day.

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