Apple Still Headed to $1,000

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Though the odds are likely stacked against my skepticism, I'm not convinced Apple (AAPL) plans to sell a smartwatch. There's something unsettling about the world's greatest company jumping into a market manufactured by a consensus of less-than tech companies.

Consumers haven't necessarily said we demand more wearable devices. And I don't think they qualify as products people don't know they want until Apple tells them so. Rather they're an attempt by tech companies to create a frenzy that might never take. All we can do is bandy about the rumors and wait and see how things shake out.

But here's the cool thing about the questionable prospects of the wearable market from what should be the perspective of Apple fanboys and investors: It doesn't matter. The fate of an Apple smartwatch will have very little impact on Apple's near- or even long-term prospects.

If I'm wrong and an iWatch (or smartband) happens to sell well -- like five million units out of the gate -- that's icing on Apple's cake. Just icing because there's no way this thing sniffs iPad, let alone iPhone sales numbers. Some would classify mere cake icing as a failure. But I wouldn't. I would just call it a product I wasn't all that jazzed about acting as a periphery to Apple's core and -- hopefully -- boosting or helping Tim Cook maintain healthy margins.

If I'm right ... an Apple iWatch either fails or never materializes.

A failure will prompt knee-jerk criticism of Apple. It won't be like the failure of Ping or the recent stagnation of Apple's digital music strategy. Everybody brushed those things off as Apple software and services miscues. Targets of outrage and snark, but ultimately acceptable like Siri and Apple Maps. However, on an iWatch miss, alarm bells will go off because, on the heels of iPod, iPhone, iPad (and Apple TV), Apple will have experienced a hardware failure. Self-vindicated critics will hammer Tim Cook as not being able to extend Apple's greatness post-Steve Jobs.

But the critics will be wrong. Because the material outcome of an iWatch failure isn't different at all from what will happen if an iWatch -- or some sort of wearable from Apple -- never even happens in the first place. $1,000 for AAPL remains in the cards. It doesn't depend on iWatch being the next big thing or even being a thing

Here's what I mean ...

Failure. Never materializes. Apple operates from a position of such great strength -- and brute force -- that neither of these potential results will impact its business. That's because, at the moment, Apple's business is all about iPhone. iPhone 6 in particular. Some people think that's a bad thing. I think it's absolutely fantastic, which is why I don't understand why Apple would want to surf the unchartered territory (relative to other areas it has redefined and disrupted such as portable music players, the CrackBerry and the laptop) of wearables.

If you're going to get into a space as complicated as health (once again ... I'm just not sure why Apple wants to go there), you can very easily do everything you need to do with iPhone 6. Or at least that's the frame of mind I would assume. Put another way, if you can't get it done via iPhone, don't do it. At least not now. Wait for a few others beyond Samsung to fail with wearables before you dive in and do it right (if at all). Isn't that the Apple way? 

But all of that aside ... forget the sense, or lack thereof, in Apple entering health via a wearable. Forget Apple not tying everything it does in the health space to iPhone 6 (and maybe iPad and Mac). Forget all of that. Because it's nothing more than noise -- a mere distraction -- to what will be the central Apple story for the rest of 2014 heading into 2015 ...

iPhone 6.

Don't lose sight of what really matters: Fueled by an otherworldly upgrade cycle, Apple is about to sell record numbers of iPhones and demolish Android in the process.

That's why I would tie the SmartHome and anything you would have an iWatch do to the iPhone. But screech to a halt on my moot point ... it's just nitpicking. Regardless of the particulars in Apple's strategy, iPhone 6 will absolutely crush unit sales. Depending on the iPhone 6 release date, Q3 could be pretty spectacular, but Apple will really bring the power come January 2015 when it reports results from the Q4 holiday shopping season quarter. That's when Apple lies any and all of of the criticism that stems from whatever it does or doesn't do with iWatch to rest.

So you know it could be coming -- some sort of dip on iWatch-related pessimism. Whatever that looks like. It didn't come out ... so Apple can no longer innovate. Or It came out and didn't sell as well as iPad. That's all noise. Noise that might ding APPL stock. If that happens, it could make sense to load up. Not that it wouldn't be smart to load up on AAPL stock anyway. 

When Apple blows the doors off of quarterly unit sales with iPhone 6, its stock will absolutely take off. I'm 110% serious -- speaking within the context of long-term investing -- that even post-split AAPL could become a $1,000 stock.

Remember -- I'm not one of these dopes who misguidedly helped color the modern day concept of long-term investing with notions of instant gratification. I don't consider long-term six months or a year. I consider it three, four, five, even 10 years burning down the road.

You don't buy a stock because you think it's going to go to $1,000. That's dumb. Rather, you buy a stock because you believe in the long-term core prospects of the company that floats it. And, if you look around any of the sectors Apple rules (tech, retail, you name it), there is no company with a stronger existing core and better positioned to further the dominance of that existing core. Nearly all of Apple's success for the foreseeable future stems from iPhone 6. That's where investors should focus, even if the critics do not. 

--Written by Rocco Pendola in Santa Monica, Calif.

Rocco Pendola is a full-time columnist for TheStreet. He lives in Santa Monica. Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors, reporters and analysts from holding positions in any individual stocks.

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