Apple has now become the world's most valuable company ever, as share prices climbed again yesterday.
Shares hit an all time high of £421.58 ($664.74) at midday in New York, but closed at £421.75. This puts the tech giant's total value at around £395 billion, making it the world's most valuable company of all time. Microsoft set the previous record of around £393 billion in December 1999, at the height of the technology investment bubble.
Apple shares have climbed considerably from £240 in October 2011, when founder Steve Jobs passed away. It became the world's current most valuable company in January, surpassing oil giant Exxon Mobil. Shares saw a slight dip in July 2012 when Apple sales were below expectations, but this month the iPhone and iPad manufacturer seems to have recovered.
However, some of Apple's rivals are not faring so well. Here's how some of the world's biggest tech companies compare on the stock market today (21 August 2012, data from Google Finance):
What next for Apple?
As ever, rumours of new product launches may have something to do with the latest surge in Apple's value. An Apple TV, a new iPhone and new iPad are all possibilities being guessed at by the press. However, the bitter patents battle of Apple versus Samsung is ongoing; the outcome could affect the value of either or both companies, especially if certain patents can no longer be used, or existing products are banned.
Tom Glass, creative director at theEword, said: "Apple has gone from strength to strength over the last 12 months, and it's hard to see anything standing in its way. With physical products and astonishing sales stats to boast about, and plenty more surely on the horizon, Apple is unstoppable; in contrast, Facebook has declined dramatically in value since its IPO in May, perhaps because it doesn't really have a means of monetising its huge membership to the same extent."