New iPad launches in UK as Apple stock hits $600

APPLE shares touched $600 for the first time yesterday – just one month after reaching the $500 mark – as the feverishly-awaited new iPad today hits the shelves.

But only those willing to stand in the notoriously long queues at Apple stores will be able to lay their hands on the latest tablet device, as high demand for pre-orders of the new iPad wiped out stock earlier this week, leaving online shoppers with a two to three week wait for dispatch.

Apple revealed its latest iPad amid much hype last Wednesday, unveiling a higher resolution screen, a faster processor and a better camera available for £399 to £659.

Apple has surged through a string of milestones in the past few months. Just last week it delivered its 25 billionth app download to the world, after hitting a share price of $500 on 13 February, resulting in a market cap of $460bn – more than the valuations of Google and Microsoft combined.

Then in February the Cupertino-based company became the sixth US stock in history to top $500bn in market value.

Apple, whose shares have climbed 46 per cent since the start of 2012, is now the world’s most valuable company by some distance since soaring past Exxon, the oil business currently worth $404.5bn, for the first time in August. Apple’s shares finally closed at $585.6 yesterday, valuing the company at $545.9bn.