Shares of Apple, Inc. (AAPL) reached an all-time high of $325.72 on December 22, 2010's regular trading session after the company said shipments of the second-generation version of Apple TV to be greater than one million units during the week. The stock for it finished up 0.29 percent at $325.16 with an average volume of 17.71 million shares. The increase in its stock price makes Apple the largest technology company in the world. The market cap hit $298.27 billion on December 22nd, ahead of Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) being at $241.16 billion mark. [1]

Apple became the second largest company in market capitalization when it bypassed PetroChina Co. (PTR), a crude oil and natural gas company based in China, in September 2010. Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM), another crude oil and natural gas company, is number one in market cap at $367.10 billion. [1]

On October 13, 2010, Apple shares increased to above $300.00 for the first in its history due to perpetual popularity of iPhone4, the iPod and the very much liked iPad. [1]

Price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio is at times referred as the "multiple" because it measures how much investors are willing to pay per dollar of earnings. Microsoft's P/E ratio is 12.15, Exxon's is 12.89, and Apple's is well ahead of both of them at 21.46. [1]

Slower Growth

Apple's stock price growth has slowed substantially in 2010 compare to the NASDAQ. In 2009, Apple rose 60% while NASDAQ only increased one-third of that. Nevertheless, from October 2010 to December 2010, NASDAQ rose 14% while Apple dramatically decreased its percentage increase to 15%. Moreover, Apple rose 5% in December as NASDAQ rose only a paltry 4%. In conclusion, the company has not risen towards the upbeat targets as quickly as many analysts predicted. [3]

One reason for the slower growth for shares of Apple is the cautiousness regarding the corporation's next quarterly financial report. Some analysts feel that Apple will not perform better than its forecasts (for the quarter just past) even it always does so. Thomson Reuters states the low-end estimate EPS for Apple is $4.93 and the high-end is $5.75. Another reason is the fierce competition that Google's Android operating system is providing as more smartphones utilize that OS. Thus, the iPhone may start seeing its unit sales cool down. Moreover, many more consumer electronics companies have released their own tablet PCs that may take a large piece of the market share in the sector as a group. Therefore, the iPad may also experience slower growth of its sales. Finally, the last reason that Apple may experience growing pains for its stock is not releasing a major new product in the near future. Neither opening a Mac app store nor an iPad upgrade will likely have a positive impact for the shares of stock.

Accolades for Steve Jobs

CEO and co-founder Steve Jobs has been receiving some accolades for the great work he's done in making Apple as successful as it is.
1. On December 23, 2010, Steve was named "Person of the Year" by the Financial Times, a British international business paper.
2. According to CNet, United States President Barack Obama said during a speech sometime in December 2010 that Jobs is a fine example of the "American Dream" and his wealth should be celebrated.
3. Forbes magazine's annual list of the wealthiest Americans record Jobs' net worth at $6.1 billion as the 42nd highest amount on it (September 2010).
4. The January 2010 issue of Harvard Business Review named Jobs the world's best performing CEO for last year.

Forbes magazine stated Steve Jobs dramatically change multibillion-dollar industry every few years. First, personal computers with Apple ll, Macintosh; next was film with Pixar; music (iTunes), mobile (iPhone). Currently the iPad is receiving credit for rescuing the publishing industry from the doldrums. Apple continues to sell computers while twice as much revenue now comes from hand-held devices and music distribution. [1]

Buy Apple TV

Apple, Inc. manufactures and sells a digital media receiver called Apple TV, which is a "small form factor network appliance" designed to play IPTV digital content originating from specific websites. Apple TV now has a chance to become a more material contributor and game changer for the television market. Shaw Wu, an analyst at Kaufman Bros., said a forceful catalyst for the set-top box would be an App Store, which would allow users to download applications for the Apple TV. [1]

An analyst at Jefferies, Peter Misek, has seen Apple TV generate greater consumer curiosity. It is also a part of the corporation's goal of having units in living rooms for the long-term. Apple's North Carolina data center is part of that planning. [1]

September 1, 2010 was the release date of the second-generation version of Apple TV, which runs a version of iOS (known as iPhone OS prior to June 2010). It offers the simplest way to watch HD movies and TV shows, stream content from Netflix, YouTube, Flickr, and MobileMe for $99.00. The interface is similar to the first-generation with slight modifications. Meanwhile, iTune users are actively renting and purchasing over 400,000 TV episodes and over 150,000 movies per day. During the first 2 weeks it was available, Apple sold 250,000 units of its new TV. [1, 3]

Three months later, December 14, 2010, A new version of Apple TV (version 4.1.1) came out. While the second-generation Apple TV is iOS based, developers for the corporations used the traditional Jailbreaking techniques to install additional software on the TV. Eight days later, Apple updated its Remote application for iOS devices. It added the capability to remotely stream a video from a computer's iTunes library to the new Apple TV via AirPlay. So as a free download, remote version 2.1 is now available on the App Store. It requires iOS 3.1.2 or later and it is compatible with the iPod touch, iPhone, and iPad. [1, 3]

Components of Apple TV

1. Apple's A4 (ARM Cortex-A8) chip processor
2. Graphics processing of PowerVR 5GX535 - 256MB
3. 8 GB of flash storage for caching purposes
4. No Hard drive
5. Every content originates from online or locally connected sources.
6. Connectivity port for Micro - USB, HDMI, infrared receiver, and optical audio with networking capacity of Wi - Fi (802.11a/b/g/n)
7. 10/100 Ethernet
8. Modified Mac OSX
[1, 3]

Apple's operating system iOS 4.2.1

1. Released on November 22, 2010
2. Supports all Apple A4 devices 3rd, and 2nd-generation devices, with the exclusion of the Apple TV
3. Initial support of iOS 4.x to iPad, plus AirPlay and AirPrint to all compatible devices.
4. Contains small changes to the YouTube app and alters the multitasking animation.
[1 - 2]

Apple TV is in competition with some other companies for a share of the market. Noteworthy competitors include Google TV, Roku, and Western Digital Media Center. [1]