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iPhone 5C's Impact Is Massively Underestimated

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Near the end of the day on Friday, the Wall Street Journal reported that China Mobile (CHL) is on the list to receive iPhone 5C. Today we're hearing from analyst KGI that China Mobile may delay the launch of the iPhone until its TDD-LTE network is completed in November.

Either way, the fact that a China Mobile launch is imminent means that Apple's (AAPL - Get Report) 12-month earnings growth projections will rise as analysts slowly come to realize the impact of Tim Cook decision to add China Mobile, Japan's NTT Docomo (DCM), an Apple trade-in program and of course the release of a cheaper iPhone model.

Yes, Apple has been in India for years but no, it's never had a product designed for the market. Consider the addressable market for the iPhone lineup effectively doubled as we head into 2014.

Mainstream analysts who have been burned by overestimating Apple's growth over the past year will be slow to recognize this massive shift in market share opportunity, and will likely underestimate the potential impact of iPhone 5C. We've seen this same phenomenon happen before. It's the way the herd works.

This current Apple window can be defined by rapidly improving fundamentals and lagging technicals. Warren Buffett's wisdom applies perfectly: "In the short run the market's a voting machine and sometimes people vote unintelligently. In the long run, it's a weighing machine and the weight of business and how it does is what affects value over time."

The short-term vote by investors has always lagged the reality of Apple's new product categories. It happened at the initial release of the iPhone in 2007, which is why the stock was able to run from $111 to $200 in the second half of that year.

Clearly, investors underestimated the weight of iPhone prior to its release, which resulted in tremendous stock action after the launch. The same thing happened when the iPad was released in 2010.

Analysts were spewing ridiculous estimates of five million to 10 million units for the entire first year of sales. At that time we were one of the only voices declaring Apple could achieve double digit unit sales per quarter. What did the stock do? It ran from $225 to $325 in the second half of the year as the reality of iPad growth overwhelmed the short-term voting machine.

There exists a high probability this same phenomenon will repeat itself for iPhone 5C. Those who underestimate the emerging markets will forfeit this rally. The same people telling you that Apple can't run from $500 to $600 were also telling you that Apple was stuck at $400. The emerging market opportunity for iPhone 5C is not even close to being priced in.

Today in the EconomicTiming portfolio we're purchasing a 10% allocation of AAPL January 2014 $500 calls that will triple on a run to $600.

At the time of publication the author had a position in AAPL.

This article was written by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.

Jason Schwarz is an option strategist for Lone Peak Asset Management in Westlake Village, Calif. He is also the founder of the popular investment newsletter available at Over the past few years, Schwarz has gained acclaim for his market calls on the price of oil, Bank of America, Apple, E*Trade, and his precision investing in S&P 500 option LEAPS. His book, The Alpha Hunter, is set to be released by McGraw Hill in December 2009.

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