Rating the analysts on AAPL prospects is difficult unless you know what assumptions their predictions are based on. Are they using primarily technical analysis, fundamental analysis, or other methods? If one looks at value and management quality, AAPL doesn't look as overpriced as many other stocks, especially within the technology/consumer goods sector. I mostly agree with what you say here. The linked article was based on the analysts calls on the third quarter numbers, not on their calls on where Apple shares will go. You are talking about a different rating about the quality of their coverage of Apple share price. There are biases that they have for and against a stock and company. I remember when PED first started covering Apple, if I am remembering correctly, he was more anti-Apple but he changed his mind based on what he saw and now he runs the PED30 website which covers Apple in a pretty fair manner.
Some analysts are better than others. Some are good all the time, some in up markets and some in down markets. The problem with analysts is that many are not evaluated correctly so some will continue to spout off about things when their record indicates that they don't have a good idea about what they are talking about. It would be nice if they owned their mistakes.
As to how to value Apple and what kind of PE to give, you bring up many good points. I think it is the reason why stocks like Apple bounce around so much. There are lots of different ways to value a company and what you want to pay for the share price. Some days, some things seem more important than others. That is why the market opens every morning and shares trade.