After dipping slightly below $600 a share two Fridays ago, Apple's stock was back to its usual big-gaining self this week, rising 5.7% to establish a new all-time high of $633.68 per share. Some of the bigger gains came Friday, when the stock popped 1.5%.
A report on Apple's new "iPanel" may have had something to do with Friday's gains. Rumors of a new Apple TV have been swirling for months, but a report Friday claims that the new device will instead be called an "iPanel," and is due for release later this year.
Obviously the word "iPanel" doesn't mean much to the average person. But according to the report an iPanel is much more than a TV with features that include a gaming center, computer and media hub. Add in the fact that it's due to launch later this year - plus rumors of a so-called iPhone 5 being introduced as early as this quarter - you can see why investor excitement about Apple has returned.
Last week's big gains have pushed Apple to the brink of becoming the first-ever $600 billion market cap company. Of course, some analysts have projected that Apple could eventually become a trillion dollar stock. So $600 billion is small potatoes compared to that landmark, especially when you consider that it was only a month ago that Apple achieved a $500 billion valuation.
But there's no harm in reaching for the sky. And the 'iPanel' is just the latest catalyst fueling Apple's trillion-dollar dream.