Analyst expects declining iPod sales

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Analyst expects declining iPod sales

Chicago (IL) – Gene Munster, one of the most visible analysts covering Apple, told Piper Jaffray customers that Apple is likely to meet Wall Street expectations of Mac shipments of about 2.6 million and will come close to the expected 19 million sold iPods, as current research data indicates that the company will move 18.5 to 19 million iPods this quarter.

The positive news here is that Apple may meet analyst expectations in what is generally believed to be a tough quarter. Especially impressive would be the number of shipped Macs – in the fourth quarter of 2007, Apple shipped “only” 1.6 million Macs. However, the numbers also show a sharp decline in iPod sales over the fourth quarter of 2007 when the company shipped a record 21.1 million iPods.

While iPod shipments may decline up to 12% year-over-year, the revenue hit may be even sharper, as Apple struggled to increase the average selling price (ASP) of iPods lately. The iPod touch was designed to increase the ASP of the iPod line, but has not achieved the necessary volume to bring ASPs back up. In the fourth quarter of 2007, the ASP of iPods was about $163, down from more than $180 in 2006. In Q3 of 2008, the ASP was down to $158.

Munster’s numbers do not include iPhone sales and Apple may be able to compensate for its iPod revenue decline easily with an increase in iPhone shipments.