'No doubt' that Apple's best days are behind it, analyst Toni Sacconaghi says

Sacconaghi: No doubt Apple's best days are behind it

Apple's never going to grow as fast as it has — and it's unclear it will be a growing company in five years' time, Toni Sacconaghi, analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein, told CNBC's "Fast Money: Halftime Report."

Sacconaghi reiterated his position on Friday that "Apple's best days are behind it," which he first told CNBC in 2015.

"There's no doubt about it," Sacconaghi said. "It was was one of the most spectacular companies in history over the last ten years, revenue went up ten-fold, earnings went up thirty-fold. That's not happening again. And the smartphone is an increasingly mature product, and that's the preponderance of Apple's revenues and profits. For Apple to really grow meaningfully again, it's going to have to find new things beyond the phone, and that's a big question mark."

A person walks by an Apple Store.
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But Sacconaghi said he doesn't totally agree with PayPal co-founder CEO Peter Thiel, who confirmed to the New York Times this week that "the age of Apple is over."

"We know what a smartphone looks like and does," Thiel told the Times. "It's not the fault of [Apple CEO] Tim Cook, but it's not an area where there will be any more innovation."

Sacconaghi said he feels "very comfortable" saying investors can, and will, make money on Apple stock in the next year. The iPhone 8 cycle this year should propel Apple's earnings, Sacconaghi said.

"The iPhone, at least now, is not dead, and there's a lot of pent-up upgraders," Sacconaghi said. CNBC has reached out to Apple for comment.

While the era of double-digit growth is "clearly" over, upgrades like brighter screens, 5G, wireless charging and even foldable smartphones could create big up-sell opportunities for the company's phones, Angelo Zino, CFRA research senior industry analyst, told "Squawk Alley" on Friday.

Brian White, analyst at Drexel Hamilton, said he also disagrees with Thiel — he still thinks the biggest innovations are ahead for Apple.

"It's a very myopic view to look at the smartphone as the only play on Apple," White told "Squawk Alley" on Friday. "Today, it is the bulk of what they do...but if when we look out into the horizon, and we were just at CES last week, I think a self-driving car fits very well with what Apple does. VR/AR, television markets and also personal robots, that was a big theme at CES. So I think there a lot of opportunities for Apple."

Still, investors are right to question whether Apple's bets will pay off when it comes to smartwatches and television, Sacconaghi said.

"Beyond that, can you invest in this stock for five years? I understand where Peter Thiel is coming from: It's unclear that you can," Sacconaghi said. "There's a leap of faith that Apple is an innovative company."

Disclosure: Apple is an investment banking client of Drexel Hamilton.

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