NEW YORK (Reuters)-Apple Computer Inc.”s (Nasdaq:AAPL – news) soaring shares might come under pressure if wireless phone companies” push to turn most cellphones into music players slow the sales growth of Apple”s hugely popular iPod digital music players, Barron”s newspaper said.
The newspaper said that by 2006, many new handsets will carry software, circuitry and data storage for portable music. It said this will let people download songs from personal computers, like iPods, but also download music over the air.
A call to Cupertino, California-based Apple was not immediately returned.
Barron”s said a company spokesperson declined to discuss looming competition from cellphones, after the newspaper had tried for several weeks to get comment.
Barron”s said that while some analysts believe Apple might sell 45 million iPods next year, that pales next to the 750 million or more handsets that might be sold.
Apple is the No. 1 seller of portable digital music players, often called MP3 players, which let users carry thousands of songs on a device smaller than a wallet. Users of iPods include Britain”s 79-year-old Queen Elizabeth II.
The company”s stock price has more than doubled in the last year, on a split-adjusted basis. It closed on Friday at $37.76. on the Nasdaq. This gives Apple market capitalization of about $31 billion.
Apple”s recent share price represents a premium stock valuation, Barron”s said, and compares with less than $7 when the iPod was introduced.
In the quarter ending March 26, Apple sold 5.31 million iPods, accounting for roughly one-third of the company”s revenue. The company reported total net income of $290 million, or 34 cents per share, on sales of $3.24 billion.