Apple crosses $700 billion market cap milestone, stock price up 50% since January

AAPL $700B

Apple stock ($AAPL) crossed yet another momentous milestone for its financials, hitting $700 billion market capitalization as the stock ticked over $119.65. At a pre-split price, this tallies $837.13. The stock last peaked in late 2012, when it topped out in the mid $650’s. That’s a $50 billion increase from two weeks ago.

Through 2013, the price tumbled over investor doubts about new product categories and Cook’s leadership. In recent months, though, $AAPL stock has returned and surpassed its 2012 highs. The reduction in shares due to Apple’s buybacks program has been more than offset than share price growth, off the back of the company’s strong earnings and forecasts.

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Apple & Cupertino share new Campus 2 aerial shot showing construction progress

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Apple today has shared an updated official aerial shot of construction progress on its Campus 2 facility set to be complete by the end of 2016. The new shot, posted to the City of Cupertino’s website, provides a different angle and wider view of the surrounding campus compared to the last aerial photo from earlier this month. Read more

New Chase ad for Apple Pay focuses on small businesses, features Jack Antonoff’s Bleachers band

Ad Age reports that Chase is running its first TV ad for Apple Pay, focusing on use in small businesses, and featuring Fun lead guitarist Jack Antonoff’s side indie band Bleachers.

The ad, out of creative agency Saatchi & Saatchi, features members of indie pop band Bleachers roaming Los Angeles in the hours leading up to a performance. The musicians make purchases along the way using their Chase Freedom credits cards — but through Apple Pay on their iPhones, not the physical cards.

Chase said that Apple was heavily involved with the ad …  Read more

Apple to donate portion of Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales to Global Fund to Fight AIDS

Apple World AIDS Day 2014

Apple has just announced a significant campaign to support World AIDS Day 2014 as part of its long-running (RED) program. The company will donate to the Global Fund to fight AIDS based on proceeds from its new Apps for (RED) section on the App Store, as well as a portion of online and retail sales made on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Read more

Apple granted final approval for $450 million ebooks settlement despite judge’s concerns

iBooks Mac iPad iPod

Following preliminary approval it received in August, Apple has been granted the final court approval it needed in its $450 million ebook settlement, according to a Reuters report.

During a hearing in Manhattan, U.S. District Judge Denise Cote approved what she called an “unusual” accord. It calls for Apple to pay $400 million to as many as 23 million consumers if the company’s appeal of a ruling finding it liable for antitrust violations is unsuccessful.

U.S. District Judge Denise Cote previously expressed concern over the proposed settlement citing a clause in the agreement that she called “most troubling”, but today called the settlement agreement “within the range of those that may be approved as fair and reasonable.” Read more

Review: Pad and Quill’s Contega Linen case for iPad Air 2 is handmade perfection (Video)

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It’s always refreshing to see iOS accessory makers doing something different and Pad & Quill leads the pack in this area. With handmade cases crafted from linen, leather, and wood, it’s hard to go wrong with this simplistically elegant spin on cases.

Lately I’ve been using Pad & Quill’s Contega Linen case for iPad Air 2 and it’s changed my mind about “premium” cases. There’s something beautifully different about the craftsmanship and it’s created from materials that are designed to last, but not without a steep entry price for some…

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Xiaomi thinks it can top Apple and Samsung as world’s largest smartphone maker within a decade

Xiaomi Mi2

Just weeks after Xiaomi overtook Huawei and LG to become the world’s third-largest smartphone maker, The Guardian reports that the Chinese handset maker’s chief executive and founder Lei Jun is out with a bold prediction that his company could move past Apple and Samsung to become the world’s largest smartphone maker within the next five to ten years. Read more

Google reaches agreement to settle patent litigation with Apple-backed consortium Rockstar

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Google, according to a report out of Reuters, has agreed to settle all of its patent litigation with the Rockstar consortium, which consists of a variety of tech companies including Apple, Sony, BlackBerry and Microsoft. The Rockstar consortium paid $4.5 billion for Nortel Network Corporation’s huge patent portfolio in 2011, outbidding Google at the time. The Rockstar consortium originally sued Google and a handful of Android manufacturers in October of 2013, claiming that the companies infringed on seven Nortel patents.

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America First Credit Union announces Apple Pay support for its Visa card

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Adding to the growing list of banks and card issuers adding support for Apple Pay in recent weeks, America First Credit Union today announced it’s rolling out Apple Pay support for its Visa card.

“Security and privacy is our upmost priority when it comes to offering our members the latest in technology and mobile advancements,” said Rich Syme, executive vice president at America First Credit Union. “Apple Pay will bring a new level of efficiency for members, allowing them to pay with their mobile devices in a fast, easy and secure way.”

Apple has been adding several new banks since first launching Apple Pay last month and now lists a total of 17 card issuers (not including America First Credit Union) on its support document last updated earlier this week. There is, however, a long list of banks that have already announced support will arrive soon. The list also includes information for supported card types available through the banking partners. A growing list of retailers have also added support for the service at retail locations recently.

We have a running list of banks that plan to support Apple Pay in the coming weeks and months here. We also have a running list of the latest stores and apps that accept Apple Pay here. Read more