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December 1, 2005

Is Apple planning a TiVo killer?

iPods are boosting Apple's bottom line, but there are significant new product developments in the pipeline for 2006.

By CBR Staff Writer

In an SEC filing, Apple said that net sales of iPods rose $3.2 billion, or 248%, during 2005 compared to 2004. The company sold 22.5 million iPods in fiscal 2005, an increase of 409% from the 4.4 million iPods sold in 2004.

Strong sales of iPods during 2005 continued to be experienced in all of the company’s operating segments and was driven by strong demand for the iPod shuffle introduced in January 2005, the release of an updated version of the iPod mini in February 2005, the release of the iPod nano in September 2005, and expansion of the iPod’s distribution network, Apple said in the filing.

Apple said that net sales of other music related products and services, which consists of sales associated with the iTunes Music Store and iPod accessories, increased $621 million, or 223%, compared to last year.

The company has experienced strong growth in sales of iPod services and accessories consistent with the increase in overall iPod unit sales for 2005, Apple said. The increased sales from the iTunes Music Store is primarily due to substantial growth of net sales in the US and expansion in Europe, Canada, and Japan.

Citigroup analyst Richard Gardner raised his 2006 revenue forecast for Apple to $20.4 billion from $17.6 billion, predicting major product developments would further boost its fortunes. We are becoming more convinced that Apple will introduce its first Intel-based PowerBook at Macworld San Francisco, Gardner said in a note to clients.

Gardner said these product introductions would be sooner than expected, which should help minimize the risk that Apple would end up with a buildup of its current line of non-Intel laptops as customers anticipate the arrival of the new models.

Meanwhile the Mac online community is convinced that the Mac Mini is set to be reborn as the digital hub centerpiece it was originally conceived to be, A new Mac Mini project, code-named Kaleidoscope, will feature an Intel processor and include both Front Row 2.0 and TiVo-like DVR functionality. There is some speculation that the device will have a built-in iPod dock, a larger hard drive and be pitched as a ‘TiVo-killer’

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