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Day June 18, 2010

Why I think Apple wants everybody to have an iPhone

In recent entries I asked: Can the iPhone reach 10% of the world’s 3G subscribers? and  Can iPhone reach 20% of global smartphone market?

These were rhetorical questions designed to demonstrate that a growth rate of 50% (compounded) over three years was clearly possible through reduction to absurdity of alternative scenarios.

The question of iPhone as iPod vs. iPhone as Mac businesses is at the crux of any investment in Apple today and the key strategic question facing Apple and all its competitors.  Anyone holding or considering buying AAPL shares should answer this question for themselves.

To the top-down market share scenarios above I add the following, more direct, signals Apple has made regarding their iPhone-for-all strategy:

Analysts upgrading AAPL

Susquehanna Financial’s Jeff Fidacaro: To $335 from $325.

Kaufman Bros.’ Shaw Wu: To $340 from $320.

Piper Jaffray’s Gene Munster: To $348 from $340.

Caris and Co.’s Robert Cihra: To $325 from $310.

Morgan Stanley’s Katy Huberty: To $332 from $310.

International Strategy & Investment Group’s Abhey Lamba: initiate with $320.

Cowen’s Matthew Hoffman: initiate with $326.

At yesterday’s closing price Apple was trading at a 12-month trailing P/E multiple of 23 despite revenue growth that may exceed 50% and EPS growth that may exceed 70%.

Using the highest target of $348 price target as an example, it prices the shares at a P/E of less than 30 times the most recent 12-month earnings which does not take into account the contributions from the iPad.