With new iPad looming, Barclays rates Apple a $710 stock

So what's whet the animal spirits of the folks at Barclays? If you thought it was the arrival of the highly hyped tablet computer, think again.

Charles Cooper Former Executive Editor / News
Charles Cooper was an executive editor at CNET News. He has covered technology and business for more than 25 years, working at CBSNews.com, the Associated Press, Computer & Software News, Computer Shopper, PC Week, and ZDNet.
Charles Cooper

Whether the new device expected today from Apple is called the iPad 3 or the iPad HD -- or the End All and Be All in the History of Techdom -- Barclays Capital has raised its target on Apple's stock to $710 from $630.

Interestingly, the upgrade note, authored by Barclays analyst Ben Reitzes, focused more on the potential contribution of iPhone 4S sales to Apple's bottom line than on the promise inherent in the company's tablets.

Noting "solid momentum" through the calendar first quarter, Reitzes wrote that iPhone 4S sales "seem to be benefiting from international rollouts, pent-up demand and overall excitement around the unmatched Apple ecosystem (apps, iCloud, Siri, iOS, etc.)."

He continues: "By the calendar 2012 second half, we believe momentum can get even stronger with the launch of the iPhone 5. This new product could accelerate Apple's momentum vs. competitors and increase its share of the wallet in the tech space even further as well. We wouldn't be surprised to see iPhone 5 launched late in the September 2012 quarter featuring a new design, a faster processor and 4G LTE capabilities."

Hat tip to Forbes' Eric Savitz.