Apple set a new record to become the first brand to be valued at $700bn (£446bn).
Thanksgiving came a day early for shareholders of Apple, whose share price rose to $119.75 at the start of trading in New York yesterday, giving the company a valuation of more than $702 billion, the largest ever for a U.S. company. The stock ended up closing at $117.60, putting its market capitalization at $690 billion.
Already the world’s most valuable company, this valuation made the technology brand around 1.7 times the value of the world’s second largest company, Exxon Mobil, which has a market capitalization of around $401 billion. In comparison, competitors Microsoft and Google have market caps of $395bn and $370bn respectively.
In September, the brand announced that it had sold over 10 million new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus models, a new record, just three days after its launch on 19 September. The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus was first made available in the US, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Puerto Rico, Singapore and the UK, and available to more than 20 additional countries later that month. The new iPhones will be available in 115 countries by the end of the year.
The new iPhones included iOS 8, the biggest release since the App Store, featuring a simpler, faster and more intuitive user experience with new Messages and Photos features, predictive typing for Apple’s QuickType keyboard and Family Sharing. iOS 8 also includes the new Health app, giving users a clear overview of their health and fitness data and iCloud Drive.
In October, the brand introduced iPad Air 2, the thinnest and most powerful iPad. At 6.1 mm thin and weighing less than a pound, iPad Air 2 features an improved Retina display for enhanced contrast and richer, more vibrant colours, and better cameras for taking stunning photos and videos. Available in gold, silver and space grey, the new iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 offer Touch ID so users can unlock their iPad with just the touch of a finger and make purchases easily and securely within apps using Apple Pay.
At the same event, the brand announced that customers can start making payments with the touch of a finger when Apple Pay becomes available in the U.S. Apple Pay offers an easy, secure and private way to pay using Touch ID on iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in stores and within apps. Users of the just-announced iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 will be able to use Touch ID on their devices for Apple Pay within apps. The new service will be enabled by a free software update to iOS 8.
Last month, the brand announced its financial results for its fiscal 2014 fourth quarter ended 27 September, 2014. Apple posted quarterly revenue of $42.1 billion and quarterly net profit of $8.5 billion, or $1.42 per diluted share. These results compare to revenue of $37.5 billion and net profit of $7.5 billion, or $1.18 per diluted share, in the year-ago quarter. Gross margin was 38 percent compared to 37 percent in the year-ago quarter. International sales accounted for 60 percent of the quarter’s revenue. Apple’s board of directors declared a cash dividend of $.47 per share of the company’s common stock.
“Our fiscal 2014 was one for the record books, including the biggest iPhone launch ever with iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “With amazing innovations in our new iPhones, iPads and Macs, as well as iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite, we are heading into the holidays with Apple’s strongest product lineup ever. We are also incredibly excited about Apple Watch and other great products and services in the pipeline for 2015.”