Apple stock passes $500 a share

Listen carefully and you'll hear the faint sound of whooping and screaming, as Apple's share price breaks the $500-apiece barrier and – we're guessing – rapturous glee breaks out among the ordinarily sensible Cupertino coin counters. The NASDAQ woke to an individual Apple share at $502.55, having hovered around the $498-499 point earlier in the week: that means it's now more expensive to buy a single share in Apple than it is to buy an iPad 2.

The rocketing share price comes at the tail end of a record breaking financial quarter for Apple. The company announced that, for the first time, it had surpassed $40bn in revenue, as well as selling 37m iPhones and 15.43m iPads. The market had expected revenues under $40bn and just 30m iPhone sales, so the news had an instant impact on Apple's shares.

More recently, the company has reacted to claims of worker mistreatment in its supply chain, requesting a full audit from the Fair Labor Association to counter allegations of poor conditions. It's unclear exactly how much of a sway that news may have made; rumors recently that Apple plans an iPad 3 event in the first week of March is likely to have been a bigger consideration.

The upward rise looks unlikely to change any time soon. Apple is expected to reveal the iPhone 5 later in the year, and even the aging iPhone 3GS continues to be a strong seller despite the influx of Android devices. Meanwhile new Apple TV products are also expected, along with a significant Air-style refresh of the MacBook Pro.