Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Brian White, who rates Apple shares "buy" with a $777 price target, said he believes that both the iPhone 5C and a deal with China Mobile will help propel Apple's earnings higher. He believes the iPhone 5C could cost around $399 to $429, significantly lower than the cost of an unlocked 16GB iPhone 5.
"With a lower price point and multiple color options available (we expect five colors), we believe the introduction of the plastic-encased iPhone 5C will accelerate iPhone growth and drive share gains for Apple," White wrote in a note. "Additionally, we believe a deal with China Mobile is imminent over the next year, providing Apple with access to a wireless subscriber base of 745 million, or 7x larger than both AT&T and Verizon."
Apple shares, which have lagged the S&P 500 and Nasdaq this year by a wide margin, need a boost. There may be nothing bigger for Apple and its shareholders than a deal with China Mobile, given the enormity of its subscriber base. While Apple will not capture all 137.9 million 3G users (there are reported to be about 10 million iPhones already in use on China Mobile's network despite Apple not having a deal with the company), it may capture a significant chunk of them, especially if the iPhone 5C is part of Apple's plan in China.