Apple Set for Record Holiday Quarter

Last quarter was one for the record books for Apple (s aapl): $20 billion in revenue, 14.1 million iPhones sold, 3.89 million Macs, and 4.19 million iPads, but that record may be broken as soon as the end of January, when Apple’s first fiscal quarter ends, according to a pair of surveys from IDC and ChangeWave Research.

As Fortune‘s Apple 2.0 blog reports, a ChangeWave survey of 2,812 American consumers shows increasing interest in Mac laptops, up from 25 percent in October to 36 percent in November. Not coincidentally, that time frame covers the launch of the rejuvenated MacBook Air, and DigiTimes is confirming the success of the new portable. According to component suppliers, shipments of Mac laptops will average one million per month during the fourth quarter, with 20 to 25 percent of that volume attributed to the MacBook Air.

While desktop enthusiasm remains flat at 24 percent, Apple’s share still stands to grow as demand overall in the PC market is down. This suggests another big quarter is coming for Mac sales. Last year, the increase in Mac desktop sales from the pre-holiday quarter to the holiday quarter was about ten percent. This year, if Apple manages to repeat that feat, it will result in 4.3 million Macs sold for the holiday quarter. That’s a lot of Macs, especially as the desktop market overall continues to shrink.

But Apple will likely sell even more iPads. AppleInsider quotes an NPD survey asserting that 11 percent of respondents are planning to purchase an iPad by February 2011. How many of those purchases will occur before January, when some anticipate the iPad 2 to be unveiled, is unknown, but analysts have been adjusting their estimates of iPad sales for the holiday quarter upward. With Apple selling 4.19 million iPads last quarter, six million iPads before the close of January doesn’t seem unrealistic. To put that in perspective, iPod sales routinely double from around ten million to 20 million during the holiday quarter.

That leaves only the iPhone as the unknown this quarter. While it’s hard to imagine surpassing the 14.1 million sold last quarter, expectations of ten million or better certainly aren’t far-fetched. Apple sold 8.7 million iPhones during the holiday quarter in 2009. Put this all together, and the conclusion is pretty simple: Apple will take home quite a haul from the holidays.

Related content from GigaOM Pro (sub req’d):