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Apple joins $500 billion club

Apple joins $500 billion club
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The latest jump in the price of Apple’s shares has made the company worth a new record high of $500 billion.

Only Microsoft, Cisco, Intel, ExxonMobil and General Electric have previously passed that mark.

The share surge came as Apple announced a media event for March 7 which is expected to be the unveiling of a faster and better-equipped version of its popular iPad tablet computer.

The company’s market value has climbed steadily in past weeks, buoyed by anticipation over its latest gadget as well as by hopes that Apple will finally accede to shareholders’ demands it return some of its $98 billion (73 billion euros) war chest of cash and securities.

Apple iPad tablet sales doubled in the December quarter to 15.43 million units. The company has sold about 55 million iPads since it introduced the device in 2010.

It may be looking to “make further inroads into the general computing market” with the newest iPad, said Avi Greengart, qn analyst at Current Analysis.

Chief Executive Tim Cook has often said that he expects tablets to outsell personal computers eventually.