Apple 2.0

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Analysts: iPod sales expected to decline 7.2% year over year

July 15, 2011: 6:28 AM ET

For once, the amateurs and the professionals are in agreement

Source: Company reports, Piper Jaffray

iPod sales hit 22.7 million in the Christmas quarter of 2008 and have been going downhill, with seasonal spikes, ever since.

The quarter that ended nearly three weeks ago is likely to continue that trend, according to the 43 analysts -- professional and amateur -- we polled in advance of our quarterly earnings smackdown.

For once, the two groups are in agreement. According to their median estimates, they both expect Apple to report sales of 8.39 million units in Q3 2011 -- down 7.2% from the same quarter last year.

That's not to say there aren't disagreements. There is still a 2.5 million unit difference between the estimates of Wedbush's Ralph Schackart (9.76 million) and Ticonderoga's Brian White (7.21 million).

But the trend is clear. Although Apple (AAPL) still owns more than 70% of the MP3 player market, the company has shifted its attention to smartphones and tablets that also play music. Even the iPod touch, which according to Piper Jaffray's Gene Munster has accounted for more than 50% of iPod sales every non-holiday quarter since 2010, is getting less love from Apple. This summer, for the first time since it was introduced, a free iPod touch is not being thrown in with every Mac purchased as part of the company's Back to School promo.

Below: The iPod unit sales estimates we've gathered so far and the dates they were submitted. The Q2 rank numbers show how accurate each analyst's estimates were last quarter (the lower the better).

Analyst, affiliation iPods (millions) Date of est. Q2 rank
Ralph Schackart, William Blair 9.76 6/7/11 44
Peter Misek, Jeffries 9.70 7/7/11 27
Hendi Susanto, Gabelli & Co. 9.27 7/8/11 33
Nehal Chokshi, Technology Insights 9.22 7/7/11 14
Nicolae Mihalache, Traderhood 8.95 6/24/11 16
Daniel Ernst, Hudson Square 8.94 7/11/11 46
Matthew Hoffman, Cowen & Co. 8.90 4/21/11 22
Mike Abramsky, RBC Capital 8.82 7/14/11 18
Andy Zaky, Bullish Cross 8.80 6/22/11 2
Dennis Hildebrand, Apple's Gold 8.75 6/24/11 12
Turley Muller, Financial Alchemist 8.70 6/17/11 7
Daniel Tello, Deagol's AAPL Model 8.70 7/1/11 4
Chris Whitmore, Deutsche Bank 8.70 7/5/11 37
Mark Beauch, Apple Finance Board 8.60 5/9/11 13
Luke Kittell, Apple Finance Board 8.50 6/24/11 8
Richard Gardner, Citigroup 8.50 7/13/11 45
Brian Marshall, Gleacher & Co. 8.47 7/5/11 26
Patrick Smellie, Apple Finance Board 8.47 7/2/11 10
James Cordwell, Atlantic Equities 8.47 7/6/11 NA
Scott Craig, Merrill Lynch 8.47 6/7/11 24
Adam Thompson, Apple Finance Board 8.45 7/3/11 11
Bill Shope, Goldman Sachs 8.40 7/6/11 48
Charlie Wolf, Needham 8.40 6/28/11 36
Shaw Wu, Sterne Agee 8.30 7/6/11 29
Corey Forsberg, Apple Finance Board 8.20 7/2/11 NA
Gene Munster, Piper Jaffray 8.20 7/14/11 40
Jeff Fidacaro, Susquehanna 8.18 6/7/11 21
T. Michael Walkley, Canaccord Genuity 8.10 7/5/11 35
Shannon Cross, Cross Securities 8.10 7/13/11 NA
Navin Nagrani, Apple Finance Board 8.00 6/26/11 NA
Robert Paul Leitao, Posts At Eventide 8.00 6/25/11 6
Horace Dediu, Asymco 8.00 6/26/11 5
Robert Cihra, Caris 8.00 7/11/11 17
Maynard Um, UBS 8.00 7/13/11 28
Tavis McCourt, Morgan Keegan 8.00 6/28/11 20
Gurinder Kaira, Montrose Securities 7.90 7/13/11 NA
Keith Bachman, BMO Capital 7.81 7/11/11 NA
Scott Sutherland, Wedbush 7.80 7/14/11 43
Ben Reitzes, Barclays Capital 7.75 6/28/11 41
Mark Moskowitz, J.P. Morgan 7.53 7/14/11 23
Chas McKenna, Apple Finance Board 7.40 6/17/11 9
Kathryn Huberty, Morgan Stanley 7.35 6/26/11 34
Brian White, Ticonderoga 7.21 7/12/11 39
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About This Author
Philip Elmer-Dewitt
Philip Elmer-DeWitt
Editor, Apple 2.0, Fortune

Philip Elmer-DeWitt has been following Apple since 1982, first for Time Magazine, and now on the Web for Fortune.com.

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