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Apple near $500 a share as hints grow of new iPad3 next month

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By Noel Young, Correspondent

February 10, 2012 | 2 min read

Is there no stopping Apple ? With new reports about an iPad 3 debut next month, Apple stock has zoomed to nearly $500 a share, making the company worth as much as Google and Microsoft combined.

iPAD2: more battery in iPad3?

AllThingsD reporter John Paczkowski said Apple would announce the new iPad at an event in San Francisco in the first week of March.

The tablet, insiders believe, will then to go on sale later that month (whether actual physical sales or simply placing advance orders is not clear).

This tallies with Asian suppliers said to be on the starting line to begin shipping the tablets in March.

Several blogs claim to have received parts from the iPad 3, indicating it will have twice the battery power of an iPad 2, plus a faster processor, more memory and a higher resolution screen.

As for price, with the competition heating up, expectation is that it will at least match the iPad 2 (which may then be sold at a lower price, as with the iPhone when the iPhone 4S made its appearance). Apple of course is saying nothing.

Apple shares reached a record high of $496.75 on Thursday, $20 up from Wednesday's closing price of $476.68.

Apple ended Thursday's trading with a market capitalisation of $459.8 billion. Exxon is second with $401.8 billion; Google and Microsoft combined have a market cap of $457 billion, Business Insider pointed out.

Analysts are now raising their price targets for Apple to between $620 and $665. Henry Blodget and Gene Munster have said Apple will one day sell for $1,000 a share.

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