Does the white iPhone matter?

One analyst, anticipating a 100+ point run-up over the next 3-5 months, believes it does

"The purchase of consumer electronic devices is not always a completely rational decision, and people buy Apple products for many different reasons, including status, aesthetics, functionality, quality and the "cool factor."

So wrote Ticonderoga's Brian White in a note to clients Monday, taking his cue from an AppleInsider report that Apple (aapl) began shipping white iPhones to retail stores over the weekend in advance of an April 27 launch.

 "The delayed launch of a 'white' iPhone," Write says, "has created a certain mystique around the product, and we believe certain demographics will find the product appealing. As such, we expect incremental iPhone 4 purchases due to this launch, driven by replacements, upgrades and/or new iPhone 4 purchases. During our travels to Asia, we found quite a bit of interest in a 'white' iPhone 4, which could prompt users to make a purchase. China has clearly caught 'Apple fever,' and we believe the country is a prime candidate for a 'white' iPhone 4."

Why White insists on putting quote marks around the word "white" is not clear. What is clear is that he thinks the period of consolidation that preceded last week's earnings report is over. "Apple's stock moves in big waves," he says, predicting that its shares will pick up another 100 points or more over the next 3-5 months.

White's price target of $612 is one of the highest on Wall Street. The stock opened Monday at $350.52.

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[Follow Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Twitter @philiped]

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