By Philip Elmer-DeWitt
March 5, 2008

Not much news was committed by Apple (AAPL) at its annual shareholders’ meeting Tuesday in Cupertino — although the shareholders did manage to make headlines by passing a referendum (which the company opposed) that gives them a nonbinding say on executive compensation. “I’m hoping that the ‘say on pay’ proposal will help me with my $1 a year,” Jobs quipped after the measure passed.

But as Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster points out in a report to clients Wednesday, Apple did clear up one nagging ambiguity: does the company’s oft-stated goal of selling 10 million iPhones in 2008 mean that it hopes to sell 10 million phones within this calendar year, or 10 million phones between June 29, 2007 and Dec. 31, 2008? It’s a question often argued in heated words in the comment threads of Apple blogs (including this one). “We confirmed with Apple,” writes Munster, “that the goal is to sell 10m iPhones ‘in CY08’ alone.”

Munster goes on to say that, according to his models, Apple will easily beat that target. “We are currently modeling for 12.9m iPhones in CY08,” he writes. “Exceeding the goal by 2.9m units or 29%.”

To do that, Apple will have to expand the market for iPhones in Europe and Asia, something it has said it plans to do this year. COO Tim Cook was asked specifically about the huge mobile phone markets in China and India, where traffic in unlocked iPhones is reported to be heavy. “We will one day enter China,” he said. “We’re not saying when, and we will one day enter India.”

For a particularly detailed account of the meeting, see AppleInsider here.

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