FORTUNE -- There's something about Charlie Wolf's approach to Apple (AAPL) that I find charmingly old school -- perhaps because he's been in the business even longer (14 years at First Boston and 15 at Needham & Co.) than I have.
Most analysts seem to change their mind about Apple's prospects every time the wind shifts; Baird Equity's William Power, for example, has issued seven different Apple price targets in the past 12 months.
Wolf, by contrast, recalibrates his targets on a strict biannual schedule -- once in February and again in August. And he tells you with some precision how he arrives at those targets, breaking down Apple's line items -- Trefis style -- by their contribution to what he thinks the company ought to be worth.
In his most recent reevaluation -- issued Monday -- Wolf lowered his 12-month Apple price target to $710 from $750.
That puts him an even $100 a share over the Street's median target (as reported by Thomson/First Call) -- primarily, as near as I can tell, because he puts a value on Apple's excess cash of $142.48 a share. According to Greenlight Capital's David Einhorn, the market values the company's $137 billion cash stockpile at less than zero.
The highlights of Wolf's latest report: (I quote)
"The lingering risk in the Apple story," he concludes, "is that the company may no longer innovate at the same pace and with the same disruption that characterized the era when Steve Jobs was at the helm. With respect to our valuation model, any deterioration in the iPhone's market share or gross margin would have an outsized impact on our price target."
Below: Wolf's current valuation spreadsheet. The NAs reflect line items that Apple rejigged in January.
Like the tortoise in Achilles' footrace, they may be perpetually unreachable goals
"There's scant evidence that the stock market itself has paid much if any attention to analysts' price targets in recent years," writes Needham's Charlie Wolf in a note to clients Thursday that raises his own Apple (AAPL) target $80 to $620.
He's got a point. the average target among the two-dozen analysts we sampled on October 19, the day after Apple's MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Feb 9, 2012 9:14 AM ET
In terms of revenue per sq. ft., think Tiffany's (its nearest rival) multiplied nearly threefold
Apple Stores are always busy places, but they tend to go crazy when a major new product is launched. With the arrival of the iPhone 4S, writes Needham's Charlie Wolf in his tenth annual report on the state of Apple's (AAPL) retail empire, they went absolutely nuts.
The numbers for the quarter that ended Dec. 31:
Revenue per MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Feb 5, 2012 7:35 AM ET
Goldman Sachs, Needham and Hudson Square Research issue new notes
You can tell you're getting close to an Apple (AAPL) earnings report when the analysts start dusting off their spreadsheets and issuing new estimates. At least three came in on Monday.
Needham's Charlie Wolf made the biggest adjustment, hiking his earnings estimate to $10.85 from $9.55 on Street-high sales of $41.15 billion, up more than $3 billion from his previous estimate. He MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Jan 9, 2012 12:57 PM ET
A sampling of reactions to Apple's (AAPL) profits growing 125% year over year
IDC's Al Hilwa: "Apple's growth in the third quarter was simply jaw-dropping. In 20 years of following tech I have seen very few companies in the $90 to $100 billion run-rate and none that have produced 80% organic quarterly growth. The success of the iPad truly crystallizes the point that we are living in an era of rapid MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Jul 20, 2011 5:46 AM ET
After the Verizon iPhone launched in the U.S., Android suffered its first quarterly decline
The chart at right, taken from a note Needham's Charlie Wolf sent to clients Monday, could be labeled "The Verizon iPhone Effect."
Using IDC data, Wolf shows Apple's (AAPL) share of the U.S. smartphone market gaining 12.3 percentage points to 29.5% in the March quarter while Android's share in the U.S. fell from 52.4% to 49.5% — its MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Jun 21, 2011 7:11 AM ET
It's no accident RIM has had to slash its guidance and cut its workforce
The analysts were all over Research in Motion (RIMM) Friday after the company issued sharply lower guidance for 2012 and warned of forthcoming layoffs. See, for example, Barron's take here.
Most recognized the role Apple (AAPL)'s iPhone and Google's (GOOG) Android played in marginalizing the BlackBerry. But none of them were quite as blunt as Needham's Charlie Wolf, MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Jun 17, 2011 8:47 AM ET
The contrast with Windows PC sales is especially striking in Asia, the U.S. and the rest of the world
As is his wont, Needham's Charlie Wolf waited until the middle of Apple's (AAPL) current quarter to issue his analysis of the last. As usual, it was worth the wait.
In a note to clients Friday entitled "What a Streak," he uses a series of charts based on IDC data to zero in MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - May 22, 2011 10:40 AM ET
The persistence of record-setting queues has Wall Street scratching its collective head
The morning phone call to Apple's Fifth Avenue Store followed a familiar script:
Do you have iPad 2s today? Yes, we got a shipment. Is there a line? Yes, it goes around the block. Do you have enough units for everybody? No, we don't.
That crowds of buyers are still gathering outside Apple Stores every morning, more than two weeks after MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Mar 29, 2011 10:11 AM ET
Revenues soared 95.2% last quarter. In 2009, they fell sharply. Charlie Wolf explains.
No Wall Street analyst follows Apple's (AAPL) retail operations more closely than Needham's Charlie Wolf, who has been using quarterly in-store sales as a metric for how well the Apple Stores are doing in general.
But you can sense his frustration in a note to clients issued earlier this week in which he reports that in-store sales, while up MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Jan 27, 2011 9:57 AM ET
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