Analyst: Apple's iPhone Devours Market Share

Apple iPhone
Manuel Balce Ceneta
Apple iPhone

Over the past few weeks, several Wall Street kernels have popped when it comes to Apple. Another this morning, courtesy of Pacific Crest Securities, and investors might be wondering when the whole bowl of kernels finally, suddenly, becomes popcorn.

Analyst Andy Hargreaves focuses on Apple's iPhone and its momentum in the marketplace, even in the face of the oncoming Blackberry Bold from Research in Motion, and the upcoming Palm Treo Pro running Windows Mobile 6.1 from Microsoft.

Hargreaves reports this morning that Apple's iPhone "browser share has nearly doubled to 0.31% since the 3G launch." It's a key metric that shows market penetration and customer use. Says Hargreaves: "Accelerating web usage highlights iPhone’s key long-term advantages."

For that reason, and Apple's new distribution deal with Best Buy, he suspects Apple will easily sell more than the 3.5 million iPhones in its third quarter that Wall Street expects.

And if you accept the premise that mobile will be everything in tech in the very near future, and that Apple isn't merely offering a me-too smart phone, but a new Apple platform to take advantage of that trend, then Hargreaves' assessment is quite literally right on the money.

I think Wall Street is finally coming around to the longer term prospects for Apple, focusing on the technology this company is developing and the trends they address. The key for investors is that those so-called "long-term" prospects are already here, and yet the stock hovers in a very narrow range.

There's a reason why so many targets are above $200 a share (and why Hargreaves sits at $235 this morning): Consumers seem to know what some investors are having trouble grasping -- or believing: that Apple might be positioned better in so many key markets than any of its competitors.

Does that mean Apple hits those $200-plus targets today? Tomorrow? Next week? Probably not. But the targets are more than realistic. And based on trends and technology, likely sooner than later.

Questions? Comments?