I'm a sucker for optical illusions. Is it a goblet or a couple kissing? Is it an old woman looking down or a young lady's side profile?

I guess Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) looks the same way, judging by the dueling opinions from Wall Street analysts this week. Yesterday, Thomas Weisel Partners upgraded the shares. This morning, Morgan Keegan analyst Tavis McCourt chimed in with a downgrade.

So stare at the iconic Apple logo for a spell, and tell me what you see. A buy? A sell?

Analysts' disagreements don't surprise me. If everyone saw the same thing the same way, we wouldn't need more than one analyst. (We might not need even one analyst.)

I'm just particularly intrigued by this morning's downgrade, since it came at a price point that's nearly 25% lower than the stock's peak less than a few months ago.

Even though McCourt feels that Macs and the iPhone will continue to gain market share in their respective markets, he argues that the general malaise in consumer-electronics spending, coupled with a slowdown in iPod sales, will keep Apple shares in check.

No one will argue that shoppers are cautious. Consumer-electronics superstore Circuit City (NYSE: CC) was coasting along a few years back, and now it's teetering. Even a superheroic bellwether like Best Buy (NYSE: BBY) is feeling a touch of kryptonite, after posting lower profits on slightly lower comps this past quarter

Does this mean Apple will take a tumble? Not necessarily. In fact, despite McCourt's cautious stance, earnings estimates for this year have actually been creeping higher for Apple over the past few months.

Sure, maybe iPod sales aren't growing as briskly as they have in the past, but how much of that is offset by the popularity of the iPod-capable iPhone? With the iPhone and other Apple products as hot exports, isn't it nearsighted to sell a company's prospects short solely on the possibility of stateside weakness?

McCourt also feels that budget cuts in the educational markets will hurt Apple, but wasn't this a throne that Apple relinquished to Dell (Nasdaq: DELL) several years ago? 

Yes, at 30 times this year's earnings, Apple is trading at twice the profit multiple of PC makers like Dell and Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ), wireless handset makers like Nokia (NYSE: NOK), and portable media player manufacturers like SanDisk (Nasdaq: SNDK).

So? Aren't you supposed to pay a premium for quality? Isn't that the same reason why the company's iPhones and Macs are gaining market share in a world of cheaper alternatives?

I'm sorry. This just isn't the time to downgrade Apple -- not when fundamentals have it going in the other direction.

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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is starting to see more Apple products creep into his home lately, but he does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.