Earlier this week, word surfaced that Apple has been busy prototyping a new iPhone design with a curved form factor. With a display that is said to curve “inward gradually from top to bottom,” such a design could certainly provide an incentive for users to upgrade.
With rumors of an iPhone with a curved display now making its way through the rumor mill, one analyst believes that Apple’s market cap could pass the $1 trillion threshold sooner rather than later. Speaking to Barron’s, analyst Daniel Ives articulates that Apple’s market cap might reach $1 trillion by the end of the year, an ambitious claim to say the least.
“We believe the new iPhones and OLED design will be a key part of this delayed mega-cycle we expect to manifest with Apple customers in 2018 and into 2019,” Ives explained. Moreover, Ives believes that Apple may see upwards of 350 million iPhone upgrades before 2019.
With Apple shares now trading in the $170 range, the company’s market cap currently stands at about $862 billion. And though a $1 trillion valuation is seemingly on the horizon, it’s not necessarily a sure thing that Apple will be able to reach that milestone anytime soon.
The reason? Stock buybacks.
Remember, Apple under the recently passed Republican tax plan is planning to repatriate upwards of $252 billion in overseas cash. In turn, Apple has been open about its intention to increase stock buybacks and dividend payouts going forward. Indeed, Apple over the past few years has been aggressively buying back its own shares at a rapid clip and Citi analysts recently opined that Apple may double its buyback rate, ultimately reducing the number of outstanding shares by nearly 10%.
While a more aggressive capital buyback program may certainly help propel Apple shares higher, it may be a bit of a stretch to imagine the stock rising to such a level as to offset any market cap loses resulting from a significantly reduced pool of outstanding shares.