iPad killers ‘less menacing’ than feared, says analyst

September 30, 2010, 2:36 PM UTC

Raises estimates, finding competitive offerings ‘delayed, underwhelming or both.’

Photo: Apple Inc.

Stifel Nicolaus’ Doug Reid raised his Apple (AAPL) price target modestly Thursday — to $360 from $350 — in a note to clients that poured praise on the company and scorn on its competitors. Specifically:

  • Reid sharply increased his estimate for iPad unit sales in Apple’s fourth fiscal quarter to 5.4 million from 3.6 million, citing “robust demand” in the U.S. and Europe and supplies adequate to meet it. Although Apple’s competitors are rushing iPad look-alikes to market, he says, only one is available for sale and all are likely to be, in his words, “disadvantaged by unsuccessful attempts to integrate first generation tablet hardware with mobile OSes (Android 2.2/3.0, Chrome) that remain either nascent or entirely unproven relative to Apple’s nearly 4-year old iOS.”
  • He is also raising his Q4 iPod unit estimate to 9.5 million from 8.9 million “following retail checks which reveal stronger-than-expected demand generation from the Sept. 1 refresh and a continued aggressive ad campaign for iPod.”
  • Reid is leaving his Q4 iPhone estimate unchanged at 11.6 million units, but raising his Q1 estimate to 13.1 million from 12.7 million following last weekend’s “stronger-than-expected” Chinese launch of the iPhone 4 in which China Unicom (CHU) took 200,000 pre-orders and ran out of product after filling only half of them.

For the quarter that ended on Saturday, Reid expects Apple to report earnings of $4.15 per share (up from an earlier estimate $3.89) on sales of $19.105 billion. We’ll find out how close he is when the issues its Q4 earnings report on Monday, Oct. 18.

[Follow Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Twitter @philiped]