A man carries a newly purchased iMac from the Apple Fifth Avenue store during Black Friday sales in Manhattan, New York, US, November 25, 2016. Photograph:( Reuters )
Apple Inc became the first US $1 trillion publicly listed US company on Thursday, crowning a decade-long rise fueled by the ubiquitous iPhone that transformed it from a niche player in personal computers into a global powerhouse spanning entertainment and communications.
The tech company's stock jumped 2.8 per cent to as high as US $207.05, bringing its gain to about 9 per cent since Tuesday when it reported June-quarter results above expectations and said it bought back US $20 billion of its own shares.
Started in the garage of co-founder Steve Jobs in 1976, Apple has pushed its revenue beyond the economic outputs of Portugal, New Zealand and other countries. Along the way, it has changed how consumers connect with one another and how businesses conduct daily commerce.
Apple's stock market value is greater than the combined capitalization of Exxon Mobil, Procter & Gamble and AT&T. It now accounts for 4 per cent of the S&P 500.
One of three founders, Jobs was driven out of Apple in the mid-1980s, only to return a decade later and rescue the computer company from near bankruptcy.
He launched the iPhone in 2007, dropping "Computer" from Apple's name and super-charging the cellphone industry, catching Microsoft Corp, Intel Corp, Samsung Electronics and Nokia off guard. That put Apple on a path to overtake Exxon Mobil in 2011 as the largest US company by market value.
The Silicon Valley stalwart's stock has surged more than 50,000 per cent since its 1980 initial public offering, dwarfing the S&P 500's approximately 2,000-percent increase during the same almost four decades.
During that time, Apple evolved from selling Mac personal computers to becoming an architect of the mobile revolution with a cult-like following.
Jobs, who died in 2011, was succeeded as chief executive by Tim Cook, who has doubled the company's profits but struggled to develop a new product to replicate the society-altering success of the iPhone, which has seen sales taper off in recent years.
In 2006, the year before the iPhone launch, Apple generated less than US $20 billion in sales and net profit just shy of US $2 billion. By last year, its sales had grown more than 11-fold to US $229 billion - the fourth highest in the S&P 500 - and net income had mushroomed at twice that rate to US $48.4 billion, making it the most profitable publicly-listed US company.
One of five US companies since the 1980s to take a turn as Wall Street's largest company by market capitalization, Apple could lose its lead to the likes of Alphabet Inc or Amazon.com Inc if it does not find a major new product or service as demand for smartphones loses steam.