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Analyst roundup: 5m iPhones for Q4, gloomy Christmas ahead

Robert Palmer

Widely-read Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster is revising his prior estimate for the quarter ending a week from Tuesday, and his outlook is even rosier than before.

Instead of 4.1 million iPhone 3Gs, Munster expects Apple will sell 5 million of the handsets. Likewise, he's revising his estimates for Mac sales up by 300,000 units, and iPod sales up by 200,000 units.

If he's right, it will mean Apple will have sold 7.4 million iPhones so far this year. That puts Apple well on track to meet its own prediction of selling 10 million handsets for calendar year 2008.

On the other hand, we have Morgan Stanley, who cut price targets for nine hardware companies, including Apple. Morgan cited a "fragile consumer," slower overall spending, and a stronger dollar (the last of which impacts sales abroad for U.S. companies).

This comes after a weak August for Mac sales, which -- in context -- only means that Apple's numbers didn't grow quite as fast as they did in prior months. They still sold 23 percent more Mac units than August 2007, but that was sharply lower than July 2008's 43 percent increase over July 2007.

[Via Fortune, Silicon Alley Insider, and 24/7 Wall St.]

Thanks, Robert!

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