Cancer

How Apple gets to $2,000

May 9, 2012: 6:50 AM ET

Andy Zaky has a plan

Click to enlarge. Source: Andy Zaky

FORTUNE -- Most Apple (AAPL) analysts will offer estimates that look a few quarters or even a year in advance.

Andy Zaky is not like most analysts.

For one thing, his estimates over the past four years have been considerably more accurate than your average Wall Street analyst (see, for example, here).

For another, he's not afraid to stick his neck out -- way out -- both in his published pieces (including more than a dozen for Fortune.com) and in his closely followed posts on Bullish Cross, his subscription-only blog.

Now he has put together an Apple forecast that looks not a few quarters, but a few years into the future.

The chart above shows Apple's past and future quarterly trailing earnings per share (TTM) according to Zaky, with most recent quarter ($41.04) at the center in dark blue. (For an explanation of TTM, see here.)

At Tuesday's close, Apple was trading at just under 14 times its current TTM (14 x 41.04 = $574.56).

If Apple is still trading at 14 times earnings in fiscal Q4 2015, it will, according to Zaky, have topped $2,000 (14 x $145.96 = $2043.44).

"I'm fairly confident about these numbers," Zaky writes. "Here's what I think will guide that:

Q1 2013 = 55 million iPhones shipped
Q1 2014 = 80 million iPhones shipped
Q1 2015 = 110 million iPhones shipped

"2014 is the golden age of Apple and the peak growth year," Zaky concludes. "After 2015, growth will stall and Apple will become a mature company -- at least for this era."

To enter another golden age, Zaky says, Apple has to do something spectacular. He's lobbying for nanomedicine and a cure for the type of cancer that killed Steve Jobs.

Curing cancer seems to me like a stretch, even for Apple.

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