Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL): RBC Capital comments B2S season

- RBC Capital notes that combined with iPhone publicity and its 'iPod with a Mac' promotion, Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) updated new thin consumer iMacs and software represent a strong push against Microsoft in the back-to-school buying period. This, in their opinion, reduces risk of a buying slowdown ahead of Mac OS X Tiger release expected October.

Updated iMacs further affirm firm's outlook for stronger Mac/iPhone momentum Q4/Q1, based on forecasts from RBC's Technology Adoption Panel, with 2.0M Macs expected Q4/F07. RBC forecasts Mac share rising to 3.3% (from 2.4%) by end CY08. They estimate that each 0.25% share equates to $0.7B and $0.11 EPS. The most significant form factor update to iMac since Aug 2004, the new Macs incorporate attractive and environmental aluminum/glass enclosures in ultra thin form factors. Apple's iMac update targets the sole of the home and student market, a key battleground for Microsoft switchers, and potential subsequent premium upgraders.

Checks this week at Apple and AT&T retail stores in major US cities suggests that iPhone demand/ sales momentum remains steady. Firm is reiterating their iPhone outlook for 13.4M 18-mo end CY08. Reits Outperform and $175 tgt.

Notablecalls: Looks like the upgraded iMac is taking at least some of the attention away from the iPhone newsflow (which still continues to be worrisome). Chatter of possible positive surprise from iMac's is just what the AAPL bulls need here. Not making any trading calls, though.

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