The “next big thing” from Apple (AAPL) might not be a smartphone, tablet, computer or a television, as countless recent rumors have suggested. It might not even be a service like a Pandora competitor or a new TV service tied to an Apple set-top box. Instead, Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty believes the next big thing for Apple will be a deal. In the December 10th issue of Forbes magazine, Connie Guglielmo writes that the iPhone’s eventual arrival on China Mobile, China’s biggest wireless carrier, will be Apple’s next big catalyst.

According to Morgan Stanley’s Huberty, who is cited a number of times in the article, China Mobile will likely begin carrying the iPhone in the second half of 2013. If Apple’s older, low-priced iPhone models are picked up by China Mobile, Huberty thinks Apple stock will explode to as much as $980 a share. Apple shares closed at $571.50 on Friday, having rebounded from a month-long dive that saw the stock nearly drop into the $400-range.

Apple’s addressable market for the iPhone has plenty of room to grow, and inking a deal with China’s biggest carrier would indeed solidify the company’s presence in the world’s biggest smartphone market. Whether or not it will be the catalyst that drives Apple shares up near $1,000, however, remains to be seen.