AAPL: To Buy and To Hold

Apple Inc (AAPL) shares have hit an all-time high of $600.01/ share (before closing for the day at $585.56/ share), giving the company a $545 billion valuation, making it the largest company in the world in terms of market capitalization. This happened right after the first batch of “the new iPad” was sold in Australia (from telecom company Telstra’s stores); soon to be followed by sales in Japan, Germany and the US, from retailers like WalMart, Best Buy & Radio Shack apart from Apple’s own Apple Stores.

The company shares reached $500/ share only a month back and the share price has jumped 44% this year alone.

Apple could be valued even higher, according to Morgan Stanley Analyst Ms. Kathryn Huberty, who revised her target price from $515 to $720, predicting that the company would go to $960 (or higher) on a $80 Earnings Per Share (EPS) in 2013. This is based on a Price-Earning Ratio (P/E) of 12, which is at the lower end of Apple’s historical forward P/E (currently at approx. 17). Morgan Stanley is not the only firm revising their prices upwards, earlier Piper Jaffray and recently OppenheimerUBS also have revised their target prices for AAPL. I am sure, others institutions will soon follow suit. IF Ms. Huberty’s price predictions for 2013 come true, that would give Apple Inc. a market valuation to the tune of a mythical $1 trillion!

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The Late Tribute: Jobs is No More

It has been five months since Steve Jobs passed away (February 24, 1955 – October 5, 2011). While the world has moved on from mourning the passage of the maven, not a day passes that some blog, some tech site does not reference his contributions. This will persist for a long time to come – such was the gift, the genius of Jobs.

In an amazing coincidence, I was in the US, in fact, very close to Infinite Loop, Cupertino, California – the HQ of Apple Inc., when news broke of his passing, and had come out of an Apple Store less than an hour back. As a latecomer to the world of iPods, iPhones, Macs, OS X and Apple in general, I was nonetheless swept away by the marvel of Job’s creations, his farsightedness and above all, his boldness in defining what the user experience could be. His death came as a shock in slow motion, increasing in intensity, rather than diminishing.

In an earlier post, I had talked about his life and philosophies a little. Here is just a throwback to the inevitable questions, “Will there be another Steve Jobs?”

My answer, “Never”.

It is the same answer I would give to the question, “Will the world ever stop celebrating the life, times and works of Steve Jobs?”

Apple’s Steve Jobs Quits, AAPL Dips

Steve Jobs has quit as the CEO of Apple Inc (AAPL). His letter read:

To the Apple Board of Directors and the Apple Community:

I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple’s CEO, I would be the first to let you know. Unfortunately, that day has come.

I hereby resign as CEO of Apple. I would like to serve, if the Board sees fit, as Chairman of the Board, director and Apple employee.

As far as my successor goes, I strongly recommend that we execute our succession plan and name Tim Cook as CEO of Apple.

I believe Apple’s brightest and most innovative days are ahead of it. And I look forward to watching and contributing to its success in a new role.

I have made some of the best friends of my life at Apple, and I thank you all for the many years of being able to work alongside you.

Steve

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Apple vs. Exxon: Race to Become the World’s Largest Public Company

Apple (AAPL) temporarily overtook Exxon (XOM) to become the world’s largest publicly listed company, in terms of their market capitalization. This is a remarkable turnaround for a company that was on the brink of bankruptcy in 1997, a mere 14 years back, and a remarkable achievement for a company that was valued at US$50 billion less than Exxon a few weeks back!

TechCrunch has a beautiful timeline of the race as both firms take turns at wearing the market cap crown.

In the days to come Apple is sure to become the largest public company, specially when iCloud goes mainstream and iPhone5 (iPhone 4G?) hits the streets.