NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Apple (AAPL) - Get Report stock is higher 0.36% to $127.72 in morning trading Tuesday after Cantor Fitzgerald increased its price target to $180 from $160, while maintaining its "buy" rating.
"After five long years, Apple plans to enter a new product category with Apple Watch in April," analysts said, adding that their current model reflects Apple Watch units of 20.6 million in the first year on the market.
In addition, Apple could announce a web TV service in June with a launch in September, according to the Wall Street Journal.
"In our view, this service could be a stepping stone for Apple to eventually launch a full blown TV product," Cantor Fitzgerald noted, adding that with the LCD TV market being approximately a $100 billion a year business, analysts expect an Apple TV to sell at a premium.
Apple's iPhone portfolio and position in China have never been stronger, analysts said.
"Within the next five years, we believe 15% to 20% of the mobile subscribers in China could be candidates for a higher-end smartphone such as the iPhone, representing an opportunity for Apple that we estimate at approximately $133 billion to $178 billion," the firm noted.
Apple has also shown its commitment to returning cash to shareholders, analysts said, adding that they expect more in April.
Insight from TheStreet's Research Team:
Apple is a core holding of Jim Cramer'sAction Alerts PLUS Charitable Trust Portfolio. During the most recent weekly roundup, this is what Jim Cramer, Portfolio Manager and Jack Mohr, Director of Research - Action Alerts PLUS had to say about the stock:
...[Last week on] Monday, The Wall Street Journal reported that Apple is planning to launch a Web TV service in the fall. Given Apple's growing TV ambitions over the past several years, combined with its announcement last week to offer HBO NOW in April, we believe an Apple TV streaming service will soon become a reality, as the WSJ article suggests.
In our view, Apple is paving the way for grander ambitions in the TV market, as we believe ordering channels a la carte with HBO NOW, or in smaller bundles through a streaming TV service, will be the way of the future. There's no question that the current pay TV model remains antiquated, expensive, over-bundled and in dire need of sweeping changes. Apple remains one of the few companies in the world that has the potential to truly transform the TV industry, and we believe that -- after nearly five years of whispers -- consumers are finally ready for a change. This week's WSJ article suggested Apple would announce the new service in June and launch in September with approximately 25 channels, including ABC, CBS and Fox. The article highlights a monthly price of approximately $30 to $40, above the $20 for Dish Network's (DISH) competing Sling TV product. Unsurprisingly, the article notes that Apple's streaming service would not only be available on Apple TV but across other Apple devices using the iOS operating system.
We believe last week's unveiling of HBO NOW was an appropriate precursor for announcing a streaming TV product. We believe the potential of these two offerings pave the path for even bigger ambitions for Apple with a full-blown TV that allows the company to control the user experience completely. We reiterate our $150 target.
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Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates APPLE INC as a Buy with a ratings score of A+. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:
"We rate APPLE INC (AAPL) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income, revenue growth and notable return on equity. Although no company is perfect, currently we do not see any significant weaknesses which are likely to detract from the generally positive outlook." You can view the full analysis from the report here: AAPL Ratings Report