Is Apple worth $1 trillion? This theme has surfaced yet again, this time from Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Brian White, who is arguably Apple’s biggest bull. He raised his price target for the company from an already Street-high of $160 per share to an even more monstrously large $180 per share.
At that level, the company’s market capitalization would be $1 trillion—something many market watchers have been forecasting for years. As always, there are a whole lot of “what-ifs” factored into White’s model for Apple.
Apple Watch to drive sales
One of the reasons White cites for raising his price target is the entry into a new product category with the Apple Watch. It’s been five years since the company released a new product in a new category. While most don’t expect the smartwatch to be much of a needle mover for the technology giant, White is predicting sales of 20.6 million units in the first year it’s on the market. That’s probably one of the highest estimates on the Street, unsurprisingly.
For the 2016 fiscal year, White expects Apple to sell 25.1 million units for a sales total of $11.7 billion. He expects the Apple Watch to add about 67 cents per share to Apple’s earnings in 2016.
What about a TV set?
Two other big themes in the Apple news flow lately have been reports of a car and a TV streaming service being in the works. White believes, as others do as well, that a streaming TV service could be a forerunner to an actual smart TV.
Apple is expected to announce its web TV service in June ahead of a September launch. The analyst estimates that the LCD TV market is about a $100 billion per year industry, and of course any TV Apple might create would certainly sell for a premium compared to TV sets made by other companies.
Analysts have been singing the TV song for years, and Apple has yet to produce one. However, this product category just may make sense in light of the natural progression of the iPod, iTunes and then the Beats radio streaming service (acquired through Beats Electronics).
Apple car just a fantasy?
White seems pretty convinced that Apple really will release an electric car, but this one seems to me like a pipe dream. The so-called “Project Titan” is supposedly on track for production by 2020, and the analyst estimates that Apple has an opportunity of $549 billion in the U.S. auto market.
Again, it could be argued that Apple is following a natural course by releasing CarPlay first and then an actual vehicle. But as of now, it’s hard to see cars as consumer devices, and Apple really is a consumer device company that offers value-added services like iTunes as extra revenue sources and a way to build its platform out beyond devices. It would seem as if an electric vehicle just wouldn’t fit well into Apple’s product lineup, but anything’s possible.
Apple moving along in China
Then there’s the topic of China, and Apple has been posting very strong numbers from what is now the company’s second-biggest market. Chinese mobile carriers have rapidly been rolling out 4G service, and Apple is well-positioned in this area because its brand offers much-coveted products that also happen to be compatible with 4G service.
White states that Apple is “better positioned than ever in China,” noting that the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are turning out to be a monstrous upgrade cycle there. Also the company is benefitting from its relationship with China Mobile, which has been blossoming of late.
Last month the number of wireless subscribers in China reached nearly 1.3 billion. While one of the concerns regarding Apple’s sales in China was the premium price point, it’s turning out that Chinese consumers are more than willing to fork over tons of cash for Apple’s iPhones.
White thinks that within five years, between 15% and 20% of Chinese wireless subscribers “could be candidates for a higher-end smartphone such as the iPhone.” For Apple, that would mean an opportunity of between $133 billion an $178 billion.
As of this writing, shares of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) were down .021% to $126.94 per share.