Apple should not be concerned about Google’s new phone knocking its stellar iPhone sales projections off stride, Piper Jaffray’s industry analyst said Tuesday.
Using a baseball analogy, Gene Munster wrote in a research note that the T-Mobile G1 was only an incremental change in the mobile landscape.
“When Apple comes out with a product, they try to hit homeruns, but Google’s Android strategy is swinging for base hits,” Munster wrote.
As a result, the introduction of Google’s Android smartphone platform “will have little or no impact on near-term iPhone sales,” said the analyst.
Earlier in the week, Munster raised his quarterly sales expectations for the iPhone to 5 million from 4.1 million. Apple’s fiscal fourth quarter ends Sept. 30.
Munster believes the iPhone has a year head start on Android, but the open-source nature of the the Google phone software could help build Android’s base of carriers.
Comparing the G1 and iPhone, the Apple analyst said the G1’s inclusion of a physical keyboard may overcome the lack of one on the iPhone.
Munster also wrote Android could trump the iPhone by offering developers a more open path to distribute applications. Music lovers may also be attracted to the the Amazon MP3 store that is built into the G1, competing with the iPhone’s integration with Apple’s iTunes.
For business users, the iPhone has the edge. The G1, without support for Microsoft Exchange could remain limited to consumers. Apple, on the other hand, has made a concerted effort to attract enterprises by including Exchange and other business-friendly features.
In the end, Munster is unwilling to go out on a limb with a prediction of a winner. However, the analyst wrote that Apple and Google are the current leaders in mobility.
Piper Jaffray kept its “buy” rating for Apple.