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Why Apple Stock Is Headed for $500 – And Beyond

Even with the product lineup it has now, Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) stock has enough fuel in the tank to propel it to at least $500 a share.

But it's about to add a booster rocket.

According to several analysts, Apple is working on a TV-set device that could disrupt the TV set industry much as its other devices have done in their industries.

This new device - to simplify, let's call it the "iTV" - is not to be confused with the existing Apple TV, a set-top box that allows users to access digital content from the Internet on their televisions.

We're talking about a full-fledged television, albeit one with Apple's special touch. And that is what will push Apple stock even further skyward.

In a note to clients last week, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster made a case that Apple is already building the iTV, which he expects could add billions of dollars to the Cupertino, CA company's top line.

"We believe that of the estimated 220 million flat panel TVs sold in 2012, 48% or 106 million units will be internet-connected, of which Apple could sell 1.4 million units," Munster wrote. "We believe an Apple Television could add $2.5 billion or 2% to revenue in 2012, $4.0 billion or 3% in 2013 and $6.0 billion in 2014."

Munster said he had met with Asian component suppliers that said they knew of prototypes of the new Apple device, and that the company had filed several patents for television interfaces.

But the definitive piece of evidence is a quote from Steve Jobs biographer Walter Isaacson's just-released book in which Jobs makes it clear that an iTV was the company's next major project.

"I'd like to create an integrated television set that is completely easy to use," Jobs said. "It would be seamlessly synced with all of your devices and with iCloud. It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine. I finally cracked it."

That "simplest user interface" is the key to why an iTV would be such a game-changer.

Tomorrow's TV

The iTV will not use a remote of any kind. It will be voice-controlled, using the same Siri technology Apple introduced earlier this month with the iPhone 4S.

"It's the stuff of science fiction," writes Nick Bilton in The New York Times. "You sit on your couch and rather than fumble with several remotes or use hand gestures, you simply talk: "Put on the last episode of Gossip Girl.' "Play the local news headlines.' "Play some Coldplay musicvideos.' Siri does the rest."

The iTV was waiting for Siri - technology that allows people to simply tell their television what they want to watch, whether it comes from the Internet or from a programming provider like Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA) or DIRECTV (Nasdaq: DTV).

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Don't Worry: Apple Stock Will Bounce Back

Suddenly, Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) appears mortal.

With Apple stock falling 5.59% yesterday (Wednesday) to close at $398.62 following an uncharacteristic earnings miss Tuesday, the company has lost its aura of invincibility.

Apple delivered $7.03 a share on $28.27 billion in revenue but analysts had expected earnings of $7.28 a share on revenue of $29.45 billion.

"The implications of an Apple miss means more than is typical, given the importance of its auraof brilliance in sustaining premium price points and product loyalty," Alex Gauna of JMP Securities wrote in a research note. "This will likely also add to well-placed investor anxiety around how the company sustains its momentum under new leadership."

The earnings disappointment - Apple's first since the second quarter of 2002 - was just one of several recent bruises suffered by the Cupertino, CA-based tech giant.

Concern started brewing in August when Steve Jobs resigned as CEO, but Jobs' death from pancreatic cancer earlier this month seemed to rob Apple of some of its magic.

Then the Oct. 4 introduction of the iPhone 4S was met with disappointment because it wasn't the much-rumored iPhone 5.

The series of stumbles has Apple investors wondering whether their days of huge gains are over. But the emotional reaction to Apple's earnings is a mistake.

"While the Q4 miss - following management transition - may restrain near-term investor sentiment, we think the new management team should be given its opportunity to show what it can do," RBC Wealth Management analyst Mike Abramsky said in a research note.

Abramsky also pointed out several strengths that show why abandoning Apple stock now would be premature: "Apple's key franchises (iPad, iPhone) remain early and underpenetrated, with significant growth drivers (4G, China, emerging markets, enterprise, etc.) ahead," he said.

In fact, a comprehensive look at the company's fundamentals as well as its prospects shows that there's still tremendous potential for growth.

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Goodbye, Steve Jobs: "Leave of Absence" Could Drop Apple Stock 50%

Steve Jobs is sick, again. And his latest "leave of absence" from Apple could drop the stock more than 50%. During Jobs' last illness, Apple stock plummeted from $176 to $83. Could it do the same again? Or is Apple strong enough to survive without its creator? Steve Jobs runs the most valuable technology company […]

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Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) Without CEO Steve Jobs Shakes Some Investors' Confidence

This isn't the first time Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) Chief Executive Steve Jobs has given investors a scare.

And each time before, Apple has navigated the crisis – and soared to even greater heights.

Will that pattern repeat itself again? Or has Apple's fortunes soured this time around?

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