Apple's Specialist Resellers 'Feeling Good About Sept. Qtr.'

60 percent of Appleis specialist resellers are "feeling good about the September quarter," according to a survey conducted by Piper Jaffray analysts Gene Munster and Michael Olson. The Mac Observer was able to obtain and review the research report they issued on Friday.

Over the past several days, Mr. Munster and Mr. Olson spoke with 20 stores and found that 12 of them expect their September quarter to exceed their June quarter. 80 percent of the sample "indicated that initial interest and demand for the iPod nano is greater than what it was for the iPod shuffle," the analysts wrote.

35 percent of the resellers surveyed expect their September quarter to be flat compared with the last quarter. Street consensus is for Appleis revenue to increase 3.7% quarter-to-quarter. Back-to-school sales are expected to drive that jump, but Mr. Munster and Mr. Olson said that "resellers also mentioned better overall consumer spending and more PC-to-Mac switchers."

They added: "It is important to note that Apple specialist VARs were not able to offer the iStudent Unioni promotion, which gave a free iPod with the purchase of a Mac; we believe this was a successful promotion for Apple."

iMac, iBook Selling Better Than Expected

Half of the resellers surveyed said that the iMac is selling better than expected, while nine noted that about the iBook. (Resellers could name more than one product.) Eight said so of the PowerBook, while only two and one cited the Power Mac and Mac mini, respectively.

Asked to name products selling worse than expected, five replied with the Power Mac while the Mac mini, iPod shuffle and eMac earned one mention each.

Based on the results of their survey, the Piper Jaffray analysts have raised their iMac and iBook sales estimates for the quarter ending Sept. 30. Theyive also changed their EPS and revenue numbers from $0.32 and $3.5 billion to $0.34 and $3.65 billion.

However, Mr. Munster and Mr. Olson note that they havenit changed those estimated numbers based on iPod nano expectations. They wrote: "We are waiting to make our estimate changes in order to put more science behind our numbers vs. providing knee-jerk estimates. We will be doing more checks on product availability, inventory and end demand before publishing a nano estimate."

Piper Jaffray continues to maintain an "Outperform" rating on Appleis stock, with a $60 price target. At 2:38 PM EST Friday afternoon, Apple shares were selling for $53.37, up 2.83% for the day.

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