Wednesday, June 28, 2006

AmTech analyst sees delays in next iPod releases

MarketWatch reports that Apple (AAPL) may have to delay the introduction of new iPods dues to changes in its supply chain. Shaw Wu at American Technology Research wrote in a research note that he is cutting his "12-month price target on Apple's stock to $75 a share from $101, citing what he said was evidence that the company's next releases of iPod nanos and video iPods might be delayed for up to two calendar quarters."

Wu commented that "Apple might postpone iPod releases because the company's switching from PortalPlayer (PLAY) to another supplier for its system-on-a-chip technology, used to manage and store digital files in the iPod."

Wu believed "Apple's going to use integrated video and audio processors from Samsung instead of PortalPlayer." He also noted that "it remains likely that the new iPod nanos will come with 4 gigabytes and 8 gigabytes of NAND flash storage, compared with current models that hold 1GB, 2GB and 4GB of storage. Wu expects Apple to release the new iPod nanos in the December quarter, or one quarter later than previously anticipated."

Wu estimated that for "Apple's 2007 fiscal year, the company will earn $2.45 a share on $22.1 billion in revenue, while consensus forecasts are for $2.58 a share on revenue of $23.6 billion."

W.R. Hambrecht analyst Daniel Amir predicted that "Apple's strength in the flash-memory digital media-player market should result in greater sales of iPods in the upcoming third quarter." He estimated that "Apple should see third-quarter iPod sales of 9.7 million units, up from a projected second-quarter forecast of 8.2 million."

Amir opined that "consumers appear to be waiting for a new upgrade to the iPod to be released before buying." He stated, "We do expect to see a pickup in sales, especially as we get closer to the launch of Apple's new products in September."