Apple has so much cash available, it could do a lot of things. For instance, it could buy Yahoo! ( YHOO) just to compete against Google ( GOOG) in search, and instantly become a worse-case for Google. With an offer of $50 billion and memories of a failed buyout from Microsoft ( MSFT) not too long ago, Yahoo! investors might not be nearly as quick to turn away. Yahoo! owns a significant stake in Alibaba, giving Yahoo! a major presence in China. China is increasingly turning into the most valuable market. At the same time, Google is now in the hardware business creating a collision course for both companies. Buying Yahoo! allows Apple further growth opportunity while bringing the fight to Google.
That's just one of countless options available to Apple for continued growth beyond the smartphone market. Another is expanding iPad sales. Just around the corner we should see the latest upgrades to the familiar tablets. If Apple executes well through the critical holiday shopping season -- and there is little reason to believe they won't -- exceeding the $600 a share threshold within the next year is reasonable. It's hard to imagine why it won't. At the time of publication the author had no position in any of the stocks mentioned.Follow @RobertWeinsteinThis article was written by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.