By pretty much any standard you care to look at, Apple has had an amazing year. With the exception of a few hiccups, their stock has remained consistently in the neighborhood of $575-600, with a market cap that has occasionally broken $600 billion (though it currently sits at $547 billion). With new products coming out at regular intervals, and Apple regularly reporting massive quarterly revenues, that doesn't look likely to change any time soon.
In fact, according to one recent estimate, Apple may be in the midst of the most profitable year ever. Not Apple's most profitable year ever, mind you. According to Topeka Capital Markets analyst Brian White, Apple may be on its way to the most profitable year ever had by any publicly traded company ever.
White argued that the $500 billion market cap mark won't be the kind of barrier for Apple that it has historically been for other companies, who reach that point and find further growth difficult. While other such companies have enjoyed near-monopolies in their areas (e.g., Microsoft's share of the PC market, Intel's share of the processor market). Apple doesn't have anything approaching a monopoly of the smartphone market. The tablet market, meanwhile, is of Apple's own making and is just two years old, meaning there is plenty of room for further growth.
Based on that, White says, Apple's potential for growth is huge. Indeed, he claims they could reach a market cap in the trillions, and profits as much as six times that of other tech companies that reached the $500 billion market cap point.
With a new iPad and a refreshed line of MacBook computers - including a new model with retina display - already out, a new iPhone on the way, and maybe even an iPad Mini and iTV coming this year, it's easy to see White's point.