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Monday, April 02, 2012, 07:43 am PT (10:43 am ET)

Firm slaps $1001 target on Apple shares ahead of $100B integrated television opportunity

Arguing that Apple's dominance of the consumer electronics market is positioned to go unchecked for the foreseeable future, Topeka Capital Markets on Monday initiated coverage of the iPad maker with a staggering $1001 price target on the company's shares.

In an inaugural research note to clients, analyst Brain White said he believes the 'Apple story' has a long way to play out over the coming years despite the company's already dominate market position, with the next 12-18 months expected to serve as a 'particular exciting' time for the company on multiple fronts.

"Driven by an ever expanding portfolio of innovative products, a growing integrated digital grid, unmatched aesthetics and a brand that is able to touch the soul of consumers of all backgrounds, Apple fever is spreading like a wildfire around the world and we see no end in sight to this trend," he said.

In particular, White argues that Apple "remains the premiere play on the rise of the mobile Internet around the world" and stands well positioned to capitalize on the trend, especially in China where 3G subscriber rates are expected to swell to 230 million by year's end and make the country's mobile ecosystem "one of the wonders of the technology world."

In supporting his 12-month price target of $1001, the analyst also identified the recent launch of the company's 1080p-capable Apple TV (review) as "another step down the road" toward the company introducing a full-blown integrated television in the future.

"Apple's digital grid is tough to match and iCloud further strengthens this ecosystem, however, Apple is missing an important product and that is a full blown TV," he said. "We believe the pieces are in place for a launch over the next year, driving an entirely new $100 billion market opportunity, while further strengthening the company's digital grid and providing customers with a new TV experience."

Wall Street darling Apple has already seen its shares rise more than 45% from the start of the year when shares were trading at just $411. A blockbuster first fiscal quarter and the subsequent launch of the new iPad help boost shares above the $600 milestone for the first time in the company's history last month.

Though shares retreated somewhat last week as investors took profits and others weighed the risk of continued investment in the company, shares of the company regained their momentum Monday after White issued his note and are currently trading at $610.49, up approximately $11 (or 2%) from Friday's close.