Piper Jaffray: A Strong Apple Product Year in 2012

Piper Jaffray’s Gene Munster, in a note to investors on Wednesday, predicted a strong product year for Apple in 2012. Citing no major new hardware initiatives in 2011, he’s expecting an iPhone 5 and an iPad 3 to drive revenue growth in 2012. Competitive pressures could lead Apple into both lower and higher iPad price points.

In his note, obtained by The Mac Observer, Mr. Munster said, “We expect buzz around a redesigned iPhone 5 to escalate in early CY12 until Apple launches it midway through the year. The iPhone 5, along with deeper penetration of cheaper iPhone models in more price sensitive markets, should drive higher-than-expected iPhone growth into CY13. Our bull case scenario reflects CY13 iPhone revenue growth of 35 percent vs. base case growth of 18 percent.” An Apple television is still considered a potential 2012 product.

Apple moneyMr. Munster also noted that an expanded iPad lineup could address competitive pressures: “Our model currently assumes iPad 3 will simply replace iPad 2; however, if Apple expands the iPad lineup to both higher and lower price points, the new iPads could support growth well above our current estimates. Our current CY13 revenue growth estimate for the iPad is 11 percent, with the bull case at 30 percent.”

The forecast is for 24 million Macs to be sold, as a baseline, in CY13, accounting for 15 percent of revenue. Apple sold 16.7 million Macs in FY11.

The Piper Jaffray analyst has set an overweight rating and a target price of $607 based on a 15.4x CY13E EPS of $39.31.

AAPL is currently selling at US$393.59, -$2.36 for the day.