WALL STREET (CBS) -- Apple’s stock closed at a record high Friday of $422 a share after the new iPhone 4S went on sale in seven countries.
The debut of the latest version of the iPhone, which boasts a faster processor and better camera, follows the death of Apple chairman and co-founder Steve Jobs, who passed away in early October at age 56.
Apple (AAPL) rose $13.57, or 3.3 percent, to close at $422 a share. That’s just 86 cents shy of the stock’s all-time high notched in intraday trading last month.
Many diehard Apple fans and investors were disappointed that Apple didn’t launch a more radically redesigned new model — an iPhone 5. But neither that initial letdown nor the death of Steve Jobs has hurt Apple’s stock.
After gaining more than 14 percent in the last week, Friday’s record close makes Apple the world’s biggest publicly traded company by a wide margin. Apple’s market value now stands at more than $390 billion. Exxon Mobil (XOM) remains No. 2 with a market capitalization of $380 billion, according to data from Capital IQ.
Steve Wozniak, who created Apple with Steve Jobs in a Silicon Valley garage in 1976, was first in line for the iPhone 4S at a store in Los Gatos, Calif.
Although crowds were reportedly smaller than for previous Apple gadget debuts, hundreds of buyers camped out in front of stores for hours to be among the first to get an iPhone 4S. About 200 people were at Apple’s Fifth Avenue store in Manhattan as the iPhone 4S went on sale.
However, as ZDNet reports, if buzz for the iPhone 4S was lacking in the lines outside Apple stores, that’s only because a lot of people pre-ordered the device online. Apple said Monday that more than 1 million orders came in, breaking the record set by last year’s model, which was available in fewer countries and on fewer carriers.
In addition to Apple stores, people can buy the iPhone 4S from AT&T (T), Sprint (S) or Verizon (VZ). Some Best Buy (BBY), Target (TGT) and Walmart (WMT) stores and authorized resellers also carry the phones.
William Power, an analyst at RW Baird & Co., told clients he expects Apple to sell more than 3 million iPhone 4S’s worldwide this weekend. Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster was slightly less enthusiastic, figuring Apple would sell 2 million to 2.5 million new iPhones this weekend.
Looking farther ahead, FBN Securities analyst Shelby Seyrafi estimates Apple will likely tally 114.8 million iPhone unit sales worldwide this year, thanks to the iPhone 4S, which is higher than the analyst’s initial estimate of 108.4 million units sold, reports CNET News.com.
The death of Jobs could be helping sales. Marketing experts say products designed by widely admired figures such as Jobs usually see an upsurge in sales after their death. In addition to the U.S., the iPhone 4S became available in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan and Britain on Friday.
(The Associated Press also contributed to this report.)