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Since Bill Gates stepped down from his role as the CEO and evangelist of Microsoft, Steve Jobs has taken over the limelight. His iPod won the hearts and minds of 85 million people, of whom probably at least 90% of those had not owned (or even used) an Apple product before. Macbooks project a level of status that no Windows-based laptop ever has, and as much as the iPad is criticized: if you put a million of them into the hands of consumers, you have created a new market.

Let’s look at the 2010 road map for Apple. The iPad is out, there is the new iPhone coming out (probably on June 7th) and the general consensus is that there will be a new Macbook Air out soon.

I need the iPhone, even if just because my mute switch is broken and buying a 3GS model now doesn’t make sense. I need the iPad. Technology is my industry and this is a paradigm shifting device, whether one considers it a luxury or not. (That said, I am 99% sure that the base model will be my choice, unless the wi-fi location service is completely pathetic). Finally, I’m a Macbook Air junkie – strike three. This is yet another product that those who don’t own criticize vehemently. For me, the allure hasn’t faded, since the day I first bought one.

So, unless the Air is completely disappointing, Apple potentially has me on the hook for probably $3500 to $4000, this year. Now, extrapolate that to the rest of the market. Even when taking into consideration the growing competition from the likes of Google’s Android-based phone collection, Apple is undoubtedly going to have their best year, ever.

Of course, the European Union could collapse, but let us pretend, like the rest of the western media, that this threat does not exist.

As fast as Apple is emptying your wallet with its products, AAPL stocks have been on a stampede. When the price hit 270, a group of major analysts all raised their targets to the 320-350 range. If you’ve been watching the market since the last crash (not last week’s insanity), you may have noticed that the best time to sell a stock is when its target is raised. Well, this time, it was the same as always. From that day, Apple’s stocks slid until around 245 (ignoring May 7th).  Four days later, the stock is back up to 262 and probably on track to smash the targets. In a slightly longer view, the stock has already gone up roughly 30% in the past three months! Apple is now the 3rd largest US company by market value:

If you want to get on the Apple computer bandwagon, but cringe at spending the money, perhaps their stocks are the product for you.

Keep in mind though, you might not be able to sell the stocks once you have bought them, because you will be locked in by high frequency trading (HFT) algorithms front running your sell offers.  Alas, that is a story for another day…