Sometimes the best way to answer a question is with another question. Yesterday, we asked, “has Apple peaked?” Today we ask, “will Apple be the first to break $1 trillion?”
The New York Times’ Nick Bilton makes the case that not only has Apple not peaked it should slice through the $1 trillion market capitalization ceiling with ease just through the natural growth of its customer base:
Even if Apple didn’t enter any new product categories, it could reach $1 trillion by doubling its sales. That’s hard for a big company, but in many respects, it is already happening. According to the latest statistics released by I.H.S. iSuppli, a research company, the Apple iPad accounts for nearly 70 percent of the tablet market. BTIG Research predicts Apple will sell 45 million iPhones in the December quarter alone. (During the same quarter last year, the company sold 37 million iPhones, doubling its revenue from a year earlier.) While it used to be a presence in the United States and a nobody overseas, Apple is now rolling out products like the iPhone 5 worldwide on the same day. The company will also, predictably, continue to increase its global retail division of 388 stores. These stores make an average of $5,647 in sales per square foot. By comparison, shopping malls in the United States make an average of $341 in sales per square foot. The company will continue to grow in China, too, where many of the more than one billion people who own mobile phones are upgrading to smartphones.
Apple’s real potential, however, lies in doing what it does best: creating new markets out of thin air.
“When we invented the car, it was a substitute for horses, but it was the second phase of the car revolution — when we invent things around the cars like gas stations and drive-ins — that created new business markets,” Mr. Wallman said. “We’re seeing this happen now with the technology we have in our hands. We’re entering the second phase of this revolution, where entirely new markets will be created, and Apple could create those.” For instance, Apple could transform the television industry, making its own TV set built on iOS, which analysts estimate could bring in another $20 billion a year in revenue. Or it could try to reinvent money itself, turning on the 435 million credit cards it has on file and enabling mobile payments. And there are consumer electronics areas that haven’t even been invented yet, like wearable computing.
Right now, Apple is the greatest show on worth. The products are amazing, mesmerizing and addicting; the stock price is a rocket and we all can’t wait to see what rabbit they’ll pull out of their hat next. Because, as I said yesterday, it could mean countless billions in profits or losses for investors over the next several years.