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Apple's best days are behind it, but I still like the stock, Bill Miller says

In terms of growth and the ability to invent whole new categories, Apple may have already seen its best days, value investor Bill Miller told CNBC on Thursday.

"It doesn't mean it's not a good stock. It's a very cheap stock. It's one of our big holdings," the founder of Baltimore-based LMM said on "Squawk Box."

With a market value of more $675 billion, "there's not a lot left in there in the sense of moving the needle," Miller said, although he did not rule out Apple eventually exceeding a $1 trillion market cap.

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In the near term, he argued, "Apple is a consumer brand with freedom to price. And that's worth a whole lot more than 12 times earnings, and of course $250 billion in cash sitting there as well."

Miller was referring to Apple's enormous cash hoard, which the tech giant revealed on Tuesday, grew to nearly $246.1 billion in the latest quarter.

But a huge strategic acquisition would not be a smart use of that money, he said. "It's hard to see an M&A [deal] that would be big enough to actually create a lot of shareholder value ... just given the market cap of the company."

Earlier this week, Apple reported earnings and revenue that easily beat expectations on the stronger-than-expected demand for the iPhone 7.

Miller said Apple has such a stranglehold on the smartphone market that it's hard to see a breakthrough that's going to dislodge the iPhone.

Miller's LMM, a partially owned subsidiary of Legg Mason, has $2 billion in assets under management. He's also portfolio manager of the top-performing Legg Mason Opportunity Trust fund.


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