Analyst Expects Record Mac Sales, Points to MBA

In a note to investors on Monday, obtained by TMO, Piper Jaffray’s Gene Munster predicted that December quarter Mac sales will be up +24 percent year over year and noted that international Mac sales are growing faster than domestic sales.

Mr. Munster told investors that he has analyzed recent NPD Mac sales data, which is up 20% year over year. “…it leads us to a Mac number of 4.1 M to 4.3 M [for the quarter ending in December]…. This early data, along with our assumptions for international Mac sales, which are growing faster than domestic Mac sales, and the final two months of the quarter, implies year over year Mac unit growth of 22% to 28%, in-line with the Street at about 24% year over year growth.

He also believes that the new MacBook Airs could drive unit growth in the quarter.

Regarding Apple’s event announced for tomorrow, Mr. Munster predicted “a cloud-based iTunes service for content streaming to connected devices. Ultimately we believe this represents a buying opportunity, as services like this are an example of a strong competitive advantage for Apple and its iTunes+device ecosystem that will likely be difficult for competitors (besides Google) to replicate.”

He placed an Overweight (“Buy”) rating on Apple [AAPL] and has established a target price of US$431 per share. Apple closed today at $307.04, down $1.00.