Apple market cap reaches $700 billion on strong forecasts

Apple Inc.'s market value has been rising steadily since the summer, setting all-time highs on the strength of anticipation for the new iPhone and its subsequent successful release. Now, more than two months after the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus hit stores, the company's market capitalization, the total value of its outstanding shares, has surpassed $700 billion for the first time.

That number has more than doubled in the three years since Tim Cook replaced Steve Jobs as CEO. Overall, shares are up 21 percent since the September unveiling of the new smartphones, along with the Apple Pay system, which is already in place at many retail outlets, and the Apple Watch, set for a spring release. This week's most recent jump comes in the wake of a very optimistic prediction for iPhone 6 sales.

Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Research, who 9to5Mac calls "one of the few analyst/firms with a respectable record on Apple forecasts," has predicted that Apple will ship an astounding 71.5 million iPhones in 2014's fourth quarter, followed by 49.4 million in the first quarter of 2015. That Q4 figure would represent a 40 percent increase over the same period of 2013.

At the moment, Apple's growth shows no signs of slowing down. In an interview with Reuters last week, Steve Einhorn of Omega Advisors said the company's market cap could reach $1 trillion thanks to strong holiday season sales. Businessman Carl Icahn agreed that Apple's stock is currently undervalued, and called it "one of the best companies I would say of the last few decades."

Specialized Apple support providers can help businesses make the most of the still-ongoing rollout of new products coming out of Cupertino.