‘Sky falling’ on ’09 iPod sales – analyst

Analysts say the greatest things. Following yesterday’s warning that iPod stocks may dry up as Apple faces stronger-than-anticipated Christmas sales, up pops another analyst to warn iPod sales are set to slump.

Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster has trimmed his 2009 Apple earnings estimate on the basis that the company will have a tough time flogging Macs and iPods in the current economic environment.

He expects Apple will sell 20% fewer iPods next year, after clocking unit sales growth of 6% this year. “We are modeling for the sky to fall on iPod demand,” Munster wrote.

The analyst predicts Apple will report $38.86 billion in fiscal 2009 revenue, down from his previous estimate of $40.45 billion. That’s not an all-bad story, of course, as this still represents 20 per cent year-on-year growth, and is above Wall Street’s consensus estimates of $37.23 billion.

However, the analyst points out that much of the earnings in the financial year will come in on strength of income deferred from sales of iPhones and the Apple TV. At the end of fiscal 2008, Apple said it had $4.85 billion of “current” deferred revenue, which will be recognized in fiscal 2009, Alley Insider informs.

Overall, Munster expects Apple’s iPod business to slow down, its Mac sales to climb slightly and “sharp growth in iPhone sales”.

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