Apple stock closed Monday at a record $211.61 a share as a new wave of "iTablet" rumors spread across the Web. On Tuesday, the stock had fallen a couple of dollars, hovering under $210 a share.
Investors are apparently excited over the new products the Mac and iPhone maker is likely to introduce in January, the month Apple typically introduces new or updated offerings. Apple as a matter of policy doesn't discuss upcoming products.
Many analysts expect the company to release a Mac tablet next year, with some predicting it could jumpstart the product category much like the iPhone helped carry smartphones to the mainstream. IDC analyst Frank Gens, for example, said he expects Apple's device to be an oversized iPod Touch, rather than a MacBook tablet similar to Windows PC tablets in the market today.
Indeed, speculation on Apple's new products is a major driver behind many of the rosy predictions on the company's stock. The mean price target, based on a poll of 36 financial analysts by Thomson Reuters, is $233.91 a share. The median target is $242.50.
The success of the smartphone has shown that consumers are ready for Internet-enabled devices smaller than laptops. By the end of 2010, IDC predicts there will be more than 1 billion mobile devices on the Internet, compared to 1.3 billion online PCs. With sales of mobile devices growing much faster than laptops, the former are expected to eventually surpass PCs.