Mad Money

Time’s Running Out to Own Apple

If you don’t own Apple yet, Cramer said Thursday, you might want to buy it now.

Reports are saying that as soon as next week the iPad, Apple’s touch-screen tablet computer, will be available to train store managers on its use. Also, the company’s ad campaign will roll out two weeks from now. But the public won’t get its hands on the product until maybe April, leaving plenty of time for more hype to build. AAPL has ramped up before similar releases, and Cramer is guessing it’ll happen again.

“You need to be in ahead of that,” he said.


Cramer was worried that consumers wouldn’t want to shell out the $500 necessary to buy an iPad, but the strong retail earnings reports he’s seen over the past two weeks erased those concerns. Target , Macy’s , Saks – even high-end jeans maker True Religion Apparel – have said that people are spending again.

There’s another factor at work here as well, and it’s a new one for Apple: enterprise business. Cramer has heard that a number of application developers are looking for ways to make the iPad work for businesses, especially doctors and lawyers. Apparently financial companies are getting in on the action, too. This market used to be controlled by Hewlett-Packard and Dell , but Apple may now have a toe in.

So rather than being just a consumer product, it looks like the iPad could make its mark in the corporate world as well. But does that mean investors should buy Apple when it’s just $4 from its high?

Yes, Cramer said, because AAPL is still cheap. He subtracted the $43 a share in cash on the company’s balance sheet, figured in the $13.50 a share that analysts think Apple can earn and came up with a 13 multiple for this stock, excluding the cash. Which is close to what investors are paying for Hewlett, Dell and IBM .

That “seems wrong to me,” Cramer said, citing Apple’s growing momentum in the personal-computer space, its market share among MP3 players, the devotion of iPhone users and the money coming in from iTunes.

Cramer urged viewers to buy AAPL now, before the share price takes off. And it should if history is a guide.

Cramer's charitable trust owns Apple.

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