Analyst: Apple iTV Upgrade and/or Phone Likely at Macworld

Jan. 4.07 | About: Apple Inc. (AAPL)

Piper Jaffray comments on Apple Computer (NASDAQ:AAPL) saying the Macworld keynote will be held on Tuesday, January 9 at 9:00am PST. They expect new product announcements at Macworld could include: iTV, a new iPod, and the iPhone.

Despite all of the talk regarding new product announcements, or lack thereof, at Macworld, the firm continues to believe that the announcement of an iPhone would be positive for AAPL shares and no sign of this product would be a negative.

Firm's take on most likely announcements:

iPhone entering production phase of 12m units (Certainty rank: 9 out of 10). In Nov-06 two separate reports came from Asian news sources indicating that Taiwanese manufacturer Hon Hai's subsidiary Foxconn had received a 12m unit contract for the iPhone. According to Commercial Time the manufacturer signed the contract with Apple to produce 12m units for a scheduled release in 1H07. Additionally, China Times reported that the manufacturer will produce between 500,000-600,000 units per month starting in early CY07.

iTV ($299) release at Macworld with some improvements from September debut (10 out of 10). At a Sep-06 event, Apple introduced the iTV, a wireless media streaming device to view iTunes content on a TV. At the show, the device was simply streaming media (but did not store it locally); Piper believes Apple could release an improved model with an internal hard disk drive. Downloadable movies average about 1.5GB each on iTunes and one way that Apple can ease capacity restrictions is to add hard drive space to the iTV. They believe Apple will eventually improve on the iTV shown in September, but the improvements may not come until after the initial release.

Maintains Outperform and $99 tgt.

Notablecalls: Not actionable but 'good to know' category. Expect to see some serious volatility over the next week or so. Note that usually the stock gets sold hard on the day of the announcement.