Apple 2.0

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Gene Munster: 10 thoughts about how Apple gets to $1,000

May 25, 2012: 7:39 AM ET

One of the company's biggest boosters on Wall Street hasn't lost the faith

Munster, posing for a Bloomberg Businessweek profile

FORTUNE -- Borrowing one of the oldest devices in print and online journalism, Piper Jaffray's Gene Munster has boiled his thoughts about Apple (AAPL) into something like a top 10 list.

Munster is on record predicting that the company's share price -- which closed at $565.32 Thursday -- will hit $1,000 within two years. Here are his 10 ideas about how it gets there:

1. An aggressive product roadmap. Munster expects a rapid sequence of new products and product updates over the next 12 months, including a new iPhone, new Macs, a new iPad and a TV.
2. A huge iPhone 5 upgrade. He predicts it will happen in October and be, in his words, "the biggest consumer electronics product launch of 2012 as well as the biggest device upgrade cycle in smartphone history."
3. Apple television in 2013. Munster hasn't lost the faith. He expects it to be announced this December and priced between $1,500 and $2,000 for screen sizes ranging from 42" to 55".
4. Carrier subsidies to continue. For at least another 2-3 years. Despite the chatter about reducing the subsidies they pay for the iPhone, carriers like the low churn rates, the fact that the device sells itself and that they don't have to pay Apple a bounty for each sale.
5. 40% gross margins. Apple's profit margins are the envy of the tech sector, and Munster expects them to continue for at least three more years.
6. "Heart transplant" strategy. This is Apple's strategy of eliminating old products as quickly as possible, streamlining its product line and securing the best component prices possible (which translates to higher margins).
7. China's adoption curve. In the U.S., iPhone sales slowed down 34% in the second quarter of iPhone 4S sales. Munster doesn't think that will happen in China, where the iPhone and iPad are just taking off.
8. Tablets will be bigger than PCs. By 2020, Munster estimates, tablets will be outselling personal computers and the iPad will still dominate the market.
9. Enterprise sales. Apple won't change its spots; it will continue to rely on consumer adoption to drive adoption in the corporate market -- at least for iPhones and iPads. Macs not so much, because unlike Microsoft (MSFT), Apple doesn't support old operating systems until the end of time.
10. The largest registered user base in the tech world. Although Apple runs its services (iTunes, App Store, etc.) at just above break-even, those services make Apple's hardware platforms both very big and very sticky. Once you give Apple your credit card number, you tend to stick around.

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Philip Elmer-Dewitt
Philip Elmer-DeWitt
Editor, Apple 2.0, Fortune

Philip Elmer-DeWitt has been following Apple since 1982, first for Time Magazine, and now on the Web for Fortune.com.

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