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Tuesday, April 03, 2012, 04:33 am PT (07:33 am ET)

Apple expected to become world's first trillion-dollar company by 2014

Shares of Apple have been projected to reach $1,000 in calendar year 2014, which would give the company a market capitalization of about a trillion dollars, making it the first company to ever reach that milestone.

Analyst Gene Munster with Piper Jaffray raised his 12-month price target for AAPL stock to $910 on Tuesday, up from his previous prediction of $718. He sees shares of the company reaching the $1,000 mark just beyond his one-year price target window.

As it has for years, the iPhone will continue to drive Apple's growth going forward, Munster believes. He sees at least 70 percent of all two-year-old iPhone owners upgrading in a given quarter.

"That suggests 33% of iPhones in a given quarter through 2015 are 'in the bag,'" he said. "We believe this is conservative given it expects an average iPhone life of 24 months."

Piper Jaffray's surveys found that 30 percent of iPhone 4S buyers at launch were upgrading from an iPhone 4, which suggests the upgrade window for those users is closer to 21 months.

"If we assume an average iPhone life of 21 months, and 85% of users upgrade to a new iPhone, that implies 45% of iPhones through 2015 are 'in the bag,'" he wrote.

Piper


For the March quarter, Munster sees Apple selling 33 million iPhones, which is a 10 percent increase from his previous prediction of 30 million. He expects the iPhone will have an average selling price of $630.

"We believe demand remains strong for the iPhone 4S based on global store checks and momentum from the 3rd-gen iPad launch," he said. His estimates are slightly ahead of Wall Street's expectations of 30 million iPhones for the March quarter.

Munster's discussion of a $1,000-per-share value of Apple came just a day after analyst Brian White with Topkea Capital Markets said he expects shares of AAPL to reach $1,001. He sees the price being driven largely by the $100 billion opportunity in the television market, which Apple is widely expected to enter in the next year.

Also this week, Mark Moskowitz with J.P. Morgan increased his December 2012 price target to $715, up from his previous prediction of $625. He sees Apple selling 31.1 million iPhones and 13.8 million iPads in the March quarter.

Apple is scheduled to reveal its earnings for the March 2012 quarter on April 24 after markets close. A conference call with analysts will occur at 2 p.m. Pacific, 5 p.m. Eastern.