Opinions vary on the outlook of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), as the stock has been essentially flat over the past five months, and profit-taking is undoubtedly in the minds of some long term investors. One particularly notable Apple commentator on this first Monday of December is Jim Cramer, co-founder of TheStreet, Inc. (NASDAQ:TST) and host of "Mad Money" on CNBC.
On the network this morning, Cramer was on its "Mad Dash" segment before the opening bell, discussing an article by Darrell Etherington that appeared on the Washington Post last week. In addition to mentioning that he thinks Apple can get to at least $605 a share, he also had this to say about the article:
"One of the best pieces I've read about Apple in ages [...] it talks about 'what is Tim Cook doing?' [...] Here they're talking about breakout products coming, they're talking about much better sales for iMac, they're talking about -- which by the way some of them are being assembled in the United States -- iPad Mini off the charts [...] it's very contrary to the conventional view about what's happening under Tim Cook's regime."
Naturally, we took a look at Etherington's article, and it's not contrarian in the traditional sense, but it does poke holes in a few widely-held Apple beliefs. Some of its best points include: (1) Tim Cook is an innovator on the supply-chain side despite his stuffy reputation, (2) Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has the potential to "become a massive mobile-payment provider," (3) it still has the "best selection of apps of any mobile operating system," and most notably, (4) it predicts that "Apple’s sales in China are only beginning their upward arc."
Regarding this last point, we've written about a potential deal with China Mobile Ltd. (NYSE:CHL) quite heavily over the past few months (see "Here's How Apple Can Reach $1,000"), and believe that it is the key growth catalyst that can push shares of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) to the fairer valuation that metrics indicate they deserve. As of this writing, no deal has been announced, but it's speculated that the two are at odds over the allowance of an iTunes sales slice, in addition to the ever-present SCDMA/WCDMA debate.
If you're bullish on the tech giant, are you investing in Apple because of its apparently cheap price -- ten times forward earnings and a 17% discount to its historical book value -- or do you simply care about the company's prospects in China? Let us know in the comments section below.