Amazing what an extra half-inch of smartphone screen can do.
With the world clamoring to get its paws on the newly improved iPhone 5, unveiled last week with great gusto, Apple (AAPL) stock Tuesday busted yet another record, closing for the first time above $700 a share.
When the dust cleared, Apple shares had settled in at $701.91 a share, up $2.13 for the day. But for Apple, it was just one more in a 10-day stretch of milestones.
"iPhone 5 pre-orders have shattered the previous record held by iPhone 4S, and the customer response to iPhone 5 has been phenomenal," Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing, said in a news release Monday. "iPhone 5 is the best iPhone yet, the most beautiful product we've ever made, and we hope customers love it as much as we do."
The relationship between the company's new phone and its soaring share price is no coincidence -- the wildly popular iPhone accounts for more than half of Apple's profits. The iPhone 5 began selling on Apple's website and the sites of carriers at midnight Pacific time Friday, and demand was so intense in that first hour that the projected delivery date of Sept. 21 had to be pushed by some retailers as far back as October.
Apple announced it had sold 2 million of the devices in the first
"It's quite a milestone when you consider that in 1997 Apple was a billion dollars in the red and now it's the most valuable company in America," said analyst Tim Bajarin with Creative Strategies. "The new share-price clearly underscores investors' belief in Apple's current leadership. And while Steve Jobs may be gone, they accept the fact that he has fully prepared this team to take over and they're willing to back them."
So how high might Apple stock go?
"Different financial analysts have projected it hitting as high as $1,000 a share," Bajarin said. "Who knows? But at the same time, there's no indication Apple is slowing down. The iPhone 5 is going to be a monster hit. And as long as Apple keeps its customers happy and continues to build its base of users, I think some of these higher targets are within reach."
Staff writer Jeremy Owens contributed to this report. Contact Patrick May at 408-920-5689; follow him at Twitter.com/patmaymerc.