WWDC will feature new MacBook Pros, but no iPhone

Wall St. analyst forecasts 1M iPhones sold by September 30

Apple Inc. will show off new MacBook Pro notebooks along with a full demonstration of the next operating system, Mac OS X 10.5 (a.k.a. Leopard), at next month's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), a Wall Street analyst predicted yesterday.

PiperJaffray analyst Gene Munster rejected rumors that Apple will tout its iPhone at the conference, which opens June 14 in San Francisco. Instead, Apple will launch the new cellular phone in late June. At WWDC, Munster wrote in a note to investors, CEO Steve Jobs and crew will flesh out the remaining undisclosed features of Leopard, announce updated or new MacBook Pro models, and perhaps unveil a revamped iMac desktop lineup. "We believe the Street would react positively to such product announcements," he said.

Munster's forecast didn't exactly come from left field. Apple has already promised that Leopard, once scheduled for a spring release but now shooting for October, would be feature-complete by WWDC. Developers, in fact, are to receive beta copies of the new operating system at the conference.

Nor is the MacBook call a long shot. Just last week the Cupertino, Calif. computer maker tweaked the MacBooks by boosting hard disk capacity and bumping up processor speeds, clearing the way for an upgrade to the pricier Pro models. Analysts, pundits, and bloggers have for weeks been hyping the idea of LED-backlit MacBook Pros using the new Intel Santa Rosa chipset.

Although neither Apple or AT&T Inc. have spilled an iPhone launch date, Munster figures it will come after WWDC. That means there's little chance sales will boost Apple's bottom line for the quarter ending June 30. However, during the next three months, Munster predicted Apple would sell approximately one million iPhones at an average price of $550 each. But because Apple plans to account for iPhone revenues over the life of each phone's contract, the company will see only $27.5 million in recognized revenues for the quarter.

Munster also pegged the September quarter as the time frame for a widescreen iPod -- essentially a stripped iPhone. "Expect Apple to launch new widescreen iPods with the iPhone's multi-touch technology at a price-point below the iPhone's $499," said Munster. "Like $399."

PiperJaffray maintained its Outperform rating for Apple shares, with a price target of $140. On Wednesday, Apple closed $112.89, down 65 cents or 0.57%, for the day.

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