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Apple Target Price Increases To $540, Higher iPad Sales Expected

Analyst firm Needham & Company has raised the target price for Apple's stock to $540, with the predicted iPad sales revised up to 54 million for 2012.

The 12-month target price originally set in February was $450, but analyst Charlie Wolf recently upped the target for the company's stock to $540, with expected sales of 54 million iPads and 108 million iPhones in the year to come.

Wolf divides the predicted value per share between each of Apple's products, noting the largest percentage change under the revised values for iTunes, with an 82.3 percent increase, due to an "explosive growth in iOS application sales."

The iPad's market share is expected to be larger than previously predicted, accounting for 12.2 percent, namely $65.62 of the $540 price target. In Wolf's view, total iPad shipments will be 25.6 million tablets by the end of the year, a 137.4% increase year-over-year; for 2012, Wolf anticipates the iPad market to grow even more, to 54.3 million units shipped.

On the other hand, the iPhone's percentage share in Wolf's model is reduced. In the February predictions, the iPhone accounted for 53.4 percent of the stock and now the percentage is reduced to less than half, estimated at 49.2%, or $265.86 of the $540 price target.

iPhone shipments for 2011 are projected to reach 77.3 million units (19% of the market), whereas 2012 is expected to bring a Apple a 20% share of the smartphone market, with sales of 108.1 million iPhones.