Gene Munster, an analyst with Piper Jaffray, said Tuesday on “Fast Money” that word from component suppliers suggests a new iPad might be introduced in March or April. Other estimates have put the launch earlier, maybe coinciding with late cofounder Steve Jobs’s birthday on Feb. 24.
Munster said the timing didn’t matter much.
“There’s a new iPad coming, and people are going to line up and buy it,” he said.
Munster rated the stock “overweight,” with a price target of $607 per share.
Apple shares were up $3.20 to close at $406.53.
As for the highly anticipated Apple TV, Munster said a late 2012 launch was likely.
“Steve Jobs’s hands are all over it,” he said, which was a good thing because it will be watched closely as the first major product launch following the Oct. 5 death of the company’s visionary leader.
“The scrutiny on this product is going to be over the top,” he said.
Munster said Apple might begin paying a dividend on its shares.
“We’ve been saying there’s going to be a dividend for the last three years because it’s an obnoxious amount of money that they have,” he said.
Apple’s balance sheet shows about $80 billion in cash, which could grow to about $120 billion in the next year.
“We’re way past the point of sanity in what to do with that money,” he said. “Our best guess is they’re going to do a one-time dividend, but that’s anybody’s guess.”
A stock split, he said, was unlikely.
“Fast Money” pro Jon Najarian said he thought a dividend was unavoidable once Apple’s cash holdings topped $100 billion, probably toward the middle or end of the second quarter of 2012.
Trader Steve Cortes said he was flat on the stock.
“I still am skeptical that it can move the needle as the biggest or second-biggest company on Earth. I just rather be flatter right now,” he said. “You would’ve been much better off being index long than being Apple long in recent months.”
Trader Stephen Weiss agreed, noting increased competition in the TV space.
“No, don’t buy it,” he said. “Apple, when they go into TV, they’re not creating a new product as they did with iPod, iPhone and iPad.”
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Trader disclosure: On Dec. 27, 2011, the following stocks and commodities mentioned or intended to be mentioned on CNBC’s "Fast Money" were owned by the "Fast Money" traders: Weiss owns EUO; Weiss owns AAPL; Weiss owns KO; Cortes is long K; Cortes is short EUR; Cortes is short XRT; Cortes is short CSX; Cortes is short UNP; Cortes is short IYT; Najarian has long call spreads in APPLE (AAPL); Najarian has long call spreads in AK STEEL (AKS); Najarian has long call spreads in US STEEL (X); Najarian has long call spreads in PNC FINANCIAL (PNC); Najarian has long call spreads in MICROSOFT (MSFT); Najarian has long call spreads in RIMM; Najarian has long call spreads in CNI; Najarian has long call spreads in CP; Najarian has long call spreads in NSC; Najarian is long CIGX; Najarian is long CBOE; Najarian is long CM; Dicker is long oil
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The following companies have been investment banking clients of Piper Jaffray during the past 12 months: ACOM, DANG, DRIV, MOBI, YNDX, YOKU
Other material conflicts of interest for Gene Munster or Piper Jaffray regarding companies in my universe for which I am aware include: DANG, MOBI, YNDX, YOKU: underwriting
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