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Apple Running Out of New Markets for iPhone, iPad: Pro

Thursday, 8 Nov 2012 | 4:59 PM ET
David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Apple's days of enormous growth spurred by iPhone and iPad sales are over because there's just not enough new market opportunity for the devices, one analyst said Thursday.

"I think the question that is being alluded to is, is there another market opportunity that's as big as the phone and the tablet have been?" Andy Hargreaves of Pacific Crest Securities said on CNBC's "Squawk on the Street."

"They're a $600 billion company almost and you need multi-tens of billions, if not hundreds of billions, of new market opportunity to continue to grow, and that's probably not going to happen."

Apple shares closed in bear market territory Wednesday after falling more than 20 percent from its all-time high of $705.07. The tech giant's stock closed down 3.6 percent Thursday afternoon. (Click here for the latest Apple quote.)

Apple's decline has spurred much speculation as to whether the tech giant has lost its dominance as a leader in technology innovation, but Hargreaves said Apple has not lost its edge. Rather, he said Apple's growth is slowing down because high-growth markets for the iPhone and iPad are tapped out.

"I think there is still room to grow in the iPhone and the iPad product lines, but not at the pace that we've grown over the last few years," Hargreaves said.

Has Apple Lost Its Appeal?
Andy Hargreaves, Pacific Crest Securities analyst, explains why he has an "outperform" rating on the stock and $670 price target.

While there is room for some incremental growth in emerging markets, the high-end of the smartphone market is saturated in the developed countries, leaving Apple ith limited growth opportunities, Hargreaves said.

But another reason Apple has seen a decline in the smartphone and tablet space is because the company simply has more competition, Porter Bibb, a technology venture capitalist, said Thursday on CNBC's "Halftime Report."

"The headlines earlier this week were Apple is losing market share in the tablet business, of course they will because they invented that product category and there are now a dozen competitors sharing the market," Bibb, the Mediatech Capital Partners managing partner, said. "But the market is growing over 50 percent a year. So there is plenty of room to go." (Read More: 'Beginning of a Bull Market' for Apple: Porter Bibb)

Apple competitors in the smartphone and tablet space include Microsoft, Samsung, Google and Amazon.

In fact, Samsung's Galaxy S3 smartphone trumped the iPhone in worldwide sales last quarter, bumping Apple's mobile device into second place for the first time in two years, according to Strategy Analytics.

Hargreaves, who prices Apple stock at $670 a year from now, said Apple is a buy at its current pricing, but the company needs "something new" besides its mobile devices to match its past growth.

Bibb though, said Apple is still the dominant company in the space and it will continue to grow. As for the drop in Apple's stock price, Bibb said it was "a reflection of the overall macroeconomic situation around the country and around the world," and that there is still room for growth despite competition.

"They are the market leader. They are going to have less share of a bigger growing market, and there's no question that they know what they are doing," Bibb said. "It's just the beginning of a bull market for these portable devices."

email: tech@cnbc.com

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