Gene Munster, a bullish analyst on Apple from Piper Jaffray, lowered his 2010 EPS estimate for Apple down to $5.46, from a previous estimate of $7.73. He also lowered his admittedly astronomically high price target of $235 down to $180. While that’s a significant drop, keep in mind that $180 is still more than twice as much as Apple’s current trading price.
So what was behind Munster tempering his outlook on Apple? For starters, he wasn’t impressed with Apple’s 4.4 million iPhone sales last quarter. And second, he was expecting a new phone from Apple in March, but his checks with manufacturers in Asia suggested that a new phone wouldn’t be released until June. Munster, who had previously predicted 45 million in iPhone sales in 2009, noted that Apple wouldn’t be able to sell that many iPhones without a March release to drive growth. Unless I’m missing something here, did Munster believe that Apple would release a phone in March only because it made his own prediction of 45 million iPhones sold plausible?
In any event, Munster subsequently lowered his 2009 iPhone sales estimate to a more attainable 28 million units.