Piper Jaffrayis Gene Munster did some serious digging into NPD sales data, and and now expects that Apple will report 16.5 million iPods sold for the December quarter. "Our analysis of iPod unit data from NPD for all 3 months of the December quarter leads us to expect iPod shipments around 16.5 million," he said. "Previously, when we had only 2 months of data, we had been expecting a range of 15.5 to 16.0 million for the Dec-06 quarter."
Despite the high sales numbers, Mr. Munster is projecting that iPod ASPs will be down for the quarter because the lower priced second generation iPod shuffle will make up a substantial portion of the total number of units sold.
Earlier on Wednesday, Mr. Munster stated that he expects Apple to announce above consensus earnings during its financial report on Wednesday afternoon. Current estimates say Apple will post US$6.42 billion in sales based on 1.75 million Macs and 15.75 iPods sold.
Mr. Munster is maintaining his "Outperform" rating and $99 target price for Apple stock. Apple is currently trading at $96.17, down 0.93 (0.96%).
Be sure to check back Wednesday afternoon for TMOis coverage of Appleis first quarter financial earnings report.