Shares of Apple (AAPL) recently traded high enough to give the company a valuation of $900 billion, adding a good deal to speculation that it will become the first $1 trillion company.
While the stock has fallen since then, Apple remains within striking distance of the statistically meaningless, but psychologically daunting number.
And of the nearly four dozen U.S. companies with market caps of at least $100 billion, Apple remains far and away the most likely to make it to the $1 trillion valuation first.
Among the five companies with valuations of at least half a trillion, Google parent Alphabet (GOOGL) is next closest, with a market cap of about $710 billion as of Monday.
Two other threats to Apple's race to the $1 trillion line are on the horizon.
One is the possible IPO of Saudi Arabia's Aramco. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has touted a valuation of $2 trillion for the kingdom's oil giant.
There are a couple of problems with that, however. One is that it's a pretty inflated number given that oil continues to trade in $50- to $60-a-barrel range. The other is that it's not even clear the company will complete an IPO next year, or at least one with a listing on a western exchange.
The second potential rival is bitcoin. The cryptocurrency, viewed by many as a classic example of a bubble, has a total market cap of roughly $137 billion at its recent price a little over $8,200. That puts it ahead of NVIDIA (NVDA) , the red-hot graphics chip maker that's a favorite of Jim Cramer and a holding in his Action Alerts PLUS charitable portfolio.
It's true bitcoin would have to increase in value 7.3 times its current price to hit $1 trillion market cap. But for a sense of perspective, that's how much it's multiplied so far this year, and we're only in November.
It's hard to imagine what will be different for Apple when and if it reaches $1 trillion. It's already a core holding for any fund manager who wants to keep his or her job. And it's almost irrelevant if it ever comes out with a new innovation ever again, since it can just keep playing iPhone upgrade cycles, and sit on its abundant cash during the slower periods.
The average Apple price target of 33 analysts surveyed by FactSet is $190.70, not far below Apple's trillion-dollar-price of $194.84 a share. After that, the rest is all gravy.
Meanwhile, rumors about the next iPhone are already flying:
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