“The biggest handset in history”: as iPhone 5, iPad ‘mini’ looms, Apple shares teeter towards $1 Tr valuation.
Click to enlarge
Apple’s march towards a US$1 trillion – ie, $1000 billion – valuation pushed ahead on Friday with the company’s stock hitting a new high.
The shares reached a record $648.11, up 1.85% Friday, as investors looked ahead to the release of a new iPhone and possibly a smaller iPad.
Apple shares soared to $648.90 (+0.79) in after hours trading. This took the company’s market capitalisation past $607 billion.
The stock has gained about 57 percent this year fuelling speculation that Apple could be headed for a $1 trillion market cap -the first by any company.
That would happen when its share price hits about $1072 – though a stock split is likely before that happens.
Apple’s soaring fortune is also helped by respected analysts talking up its new slew of iDevices as Peter Misek from Jefferies & Co. did Friday last, when he predicted the iPhone 5 “will be the biggest handset launch in history.”
The analyst predicts 170 million consumers will upgrade to an iPhone 5 in all, with 30m of these already iPhone owners looking to upgrade to the device, tipped to have a 4″ screen, be thinner, longer and have a different connector pin.
Apple sold 28. 9 million iPhones during Q2 this year, say analysts Garner – a major drop from the record 37m sold in the quarter following the release of iPhone 4S in October last.
“We therefore see significant and very fertile ground for the iPhone 5’s success,” Misek wrote in an investor note.
Misek upped his price target $100 to $900 per share, pushing Cupertino share price further towards the breakthrough $1000 mark.
Click to enlarge
The analyst left his formal estimates for the next quarter unchanged, but predicts the iPhone 5 will do massive things for Apple’s bottom line.
And fellow analysts including Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray agree, and are tipping a September launch for the next iPhone, forecasting sales of between 6 -10 million units in the first quarter after release.
Munster also believes the ‘iPad mini’ is soon on the way, citing Asian manufacturing facilities where the tablet is believed to be in the making.
Former Apple CEO John Sculley also talked up Apple TV this week, saying the TV market is its to lose, and reckons iOS ecosystem domination with the iPhone and tablet will give it a leg up into the big screen market.
“They own three screens — the mobile phone, tablet and computer — and you can see how important it is to them to own the fourth, which is TV,” Sculley said in a CNBC interview.
Apple is rumoured to be working on a killer TV device, yet unreleased, to rival Google TV, but have yet to make any formal announcement.
“Microsoft wanted the living room, Sony wanted the living room, and so far both have failed,” noted Sculley.
Apple’s former boss also sung the praises of Cupertino’s current leader, Tim Cook.
“Even though Tim Cook may not be the product innovative Steve [Jobs] is, he has Johnny Ives there who can do that and Tim Cook I think is doing a fabulous job.
“My sense is that Apple has still got great, great days ahead of it.”