It was bound to happen. No sooner did we get over our collective fascination with a $650 million dollar lottery jackpot, and some analyst raises the stakes to $1 trillion and plunks a new $1,000 price target on Apple (AAPL) and fresh numismatic lunacy ensues.
While it was fun to joke and crunch numbers, this is serious business. After all, it's the biggest, most influential stock in almost every index in the land we are talking about, not some buck-and-a-dream Megaball pick.
For Charlie Smith, chief investment officer at Fort Pitt Capital, the prospects for a new i-TV set or exponential market-share growth in China alone won't likely be enough to fuel another 66% rally in Apple.
"Apple just doesn't have the control in the eco-system that they do in the phone and tablet world. The access to content is so key in the TV world," Smith argues in the attached video. As for China, he doubts their growing middle class is - or will be - large enough to afford $500 iPhones on such a scale anytime soon.
In the meantime, this non-owner of Apple's stock says it would take more than a share price decline to get him in. Specifically, he says he would be most interested if the next flight of new products fails to make inroads in tablets or phones, in a game where Apple has "owned the field'' for the past five years.
"There is competition out there, contrary to what you read from the Apple acolytes," Smith says, disclosing that he keeps a close watch on a "very strong used market for iPhones" as a frontline marker for demand.
"It's going to be key see how well the used version of the Apple phones continue to sell because they sell at a premium," he points out, adding that if that premium starts to go away, "that could be an indicator for their margins."
As it stands today, iPhone 3's are widely available on the web for less than $200. Compare to $500 for version 4S, and whatever the price will be on the pending iPhone 5, which is rumored to be coming to market in June.