Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) shares hit record highs on almost every day last week, and closed Friday at a record $127.08. Tuesday's $122.02 close brought Apple's market capitalization to nearly $711 billion, making it the first U.S. company to surpass a $700 billion market cap. That's over twice Microsoft's $350 billion valuation and not quite twice that of Google's $365 billion.
Analysts and investors alike were bullish, and continued the trend of raising Apple shares' target price. Analyst Keith Bachman of BMO Capital Markets raised his target price from $130 to $135, speculating that there are still a lot of iPhone owners who have not yet, but will upgrade to the iPhone 6, and that the Apple Watch will sell 19 million units in 2015. Canaccord Genuity raised its
Apple Weekly News Roundup: Apple Said to be Designing Electric Car, Marijuana Apps on the App Store and More
What began early last week as an unconvincing rumor that Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) is working on an automobile gathered steam and, by Friday, it seemed that something is definitely afoot.
After multiple sightings over the last several weeks of Apple minivans laden with cameras and other equipment, rumors began to fly that Apple was working on a self-driving vehicle. Then, last Monday, a report emerged that an anonymous Apple employee had emailed BusinessInsider that the company was working on
Fans of Nintendo can look forward to the release of an iOS app in the coming months. Satoru Iwata, president of Nintendo confirmed to Nikkei that the app was currently in development. An announcement is expected after the fiscal year ends in March.
While this may break new ground for Nintendo, Iwata described a social app based on Mii characters, not a gaming app. This is in line with previous statements from the company, signaling it has no intention of bringing popular game titles to smartphones or tablets. Nintendo will continue to make games only for its own devices and consoles.
The jailbreak app store Cydia has received a long-anticipated cosmetic update. The redesign launched automatically, so users need only to open the Cydia app to see the changes. The new look brings a clean, flat design to the interface much like iOS 7 and iOS 8.
The redesign hits every corner of Cydia, however functionality and options remain the same. The last time the jailbreak app store had a significant redesign was after the launch of iOS 7, when the Sources and Installed tabs were added. The Cydia home screen icon was also updated to match iOS 7.
A lot went on on with the App Store this week, but unfortunately it was a slow week for app releases. Apple added a Pay Once & Play section to the App Store highlighting "great games with no in-app purchases." Hopefully the new section will teach App Store customers that it is worth spending a few dollars on a decent mobile game instead of encouraging the freemium model.
Apple this week also increased the maximum app size on the App Store from 2GB to 4GB. This will give developers more leeway when creating high-quality games that take advantage of Apple's newer hardware and larger iPhone displays. Here's the announcement from Apple's developer portal:
"The size limit of an app package submitted through iTunes Connect has increased from 2 GB to 4 GB, so you can include more media in your submission and provide a more complete, rich user experience upon installation. Please keep in mind that this change does not affect the cellular network delivery size limit of 100 MB."
Fleksy has rolled out version 5.2 of its third-party keyboard and it includes a free Valentine’s Day theme for those who don't hate the holiday. The update also includes new Extensions, a new theme pack and other improvements.
The Heart Pops Extension continues the Valentine's Day theme by making your "keys pop with hearts" when you type. The Hotkey Extension allows you to add an extra row of keys that you can customize to with commonly used emojis, email addresses and so on.
Apple has dealt another blow to freemium games by adding a 'Pay Once & Play' section to the UK App Store. The new section highlights paid games that do not feature in-app purchases, such as Leo's Fortune.
While freemium games rake in a lot of money for both developers and Apple, a lot of hardcore and casual gamers despise so-called "free-to-play" games. Hardcore gamers claim that they rather pay a onetime download fee rather than suffering through timers and in-app purchases, and casual gamers are tired of being misled by the promise of a "free" game that actually cost money to play.
Apple is not only working on iOS 8.2, but the company released the first beta of iOS 8.3 to developers on Monday. Apple is also simultaneously working on iOS 8.4 and iOS 9.0, according to a report from 9to5Mac. iOS 8.0 was released on September 17, 2014, two days before the release of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Apple called it. "the biggest change to iOS since the introduction of the App Store," but the OS stumbled out of the gate shipping with a bug that caused issues for HealthKit-enabled apps. iOS 8.0.1 was released to fix the HealthKit related bug, but the update caused some users to lose access to their cellular data and Touch ID. iOS 8 finally got rolling a few days later with the release iOS 8.0.2.
iOS 8.1 was eventually released to add Apple Pay support for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, and iOS 8.1.3 launched a few weeks ago to improve stability and performance.
Apple seeded the fifth beta of iOS 8.2 on Feb. 2, 2015. The next major update is mostly focused on the Apple Watch. It will include Apple's WatchKit API for app developers and a few bug fixes. iOS 8.2 also reintroduces blood glucose tracking in the Health app. iOS 8.2 is expected to launch in late-March or early April before the release of the Apple Watch.
The pilot episode for AMC's Better Call Saul is now available for free on iTunes and Amazon Prime. The Breaking Bad prequel nabbed the highest-rated series debut in cable history, and it was also met with positive reviews from both critics and fans.
Better Call Saul was watched by 6.9 million viewers while earning an important 4.4 million in the adults 18-49 demo. The show premiered on Sunday after The Walking Dead, which also has an impressive midseason return with 15.6 million viewers.
Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) share prices rose slightly over the course of last week. They opened Monday at $118.06 and closed Friday at $118.93. They also hit an all time high of $120.51 on Wednesday. Of note this week, all shareholders of record as of today (2/9/15) will receive a dividend of $0.47 per share, payable this Thursday, February 12. The dividend payout will be a record $2.8 billion.
Other notable items last week:
Data released by Kanter Worldpanel last Wednesday showed that iOS devices edged out Android devices in sales by .1% in the fourth quarter (47.7% to 47.6%). This is the first time since the fourth quarter of 2012 that iOS has held more market share than Android.