May Mac sales better than expected, iPod worse

Piper Jaffray's Gene Munster has worked his magic on the raw market share data released Monday by the NPD Group, and he sees a silver lining in a lot of negative numbers.

The NPD data relevant to Apple's (aapl) product lines show:

  • Mac units down 3% year-to-year and their average selling price (ASP) flat.
  • iPod units down 18% year-to-year and ASP down 7.5%.

From this Munster finds:

  • A "positive" for Apple shares in the Mac numbers. He was expecting NPD to report units down 2% to 5% in May, but he expects them to pick up in June following last week's price cuts. The Street is expecting Mac sales to end the quarter down 8% for the year and Munster was expecting them to be down 4% to 12%. NPD's new data, and the appeal of the new MacBooks, leads him to think Apple could beat those expectations.
  • The iPod numbers, Munster writes, are "in-line" with expectations, although he had estimated that they would be down 5% to 10% and in fact they were much worse -- down 18% for May. Average selling price was worse too, down 7.5% versus his estimate of 7%. But Munster estimates that by the end of quarter, Apple will have shipped 9.5 million to 10.5 million iPods, in line with the Street's estimate of about 10 million. Moreover, he is expecting iPod shipments to accelerate in June, tied to the free iPods Apple is giving students who buy the new, lower-priced MacBooks. He also expects ASPs to grow a bit -- to 7% -- by the end of June thanks to the new, higher-priced iPod shuffles that began shipping in mid-March.

Munster is sticking with his buy rating for Apple with a target price of $180 a share.

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