Apple's iPhone 4S was called "underwhelming" by some who were hoping for a major update to the company's iPhone 4, but it appears that shareholders are more than happy to see the device launch today.
As consumers scooped up the new device, the company's shares closed up 3.3 percent at $422, the highest closing price on record. The highest intraday share price Apple stock had ever tallied was $422.86, but it never closed this high.
The success of Apple's stock underscores the company's tremendous resilience. As noted, when Apple showed off the iPhone 4S earlier this month, rather than the long-rumored iPhone 5, many were disappointed with the updates, which include a dual-core processor and 8-megapixel camera. And yet, Apple's shares were hardly affected by the news. And after Steve Jobs passed away last week, Wall Street sent the company's shares up, seeming to indicate faith in the iPhone maker and its future.
Analysts are also bullish on Apple. Currently, 52 Apple analysts have provided estimates on the company's share price, and nearly all of them agree that the stock is a "buy." What's more, they expect shares to rise to $450 over the next year.
FBN Securities analyst Shelby Seyrafi is even more optimistic. In a note to investors earlier this month, the analyst said that he expects Apple's stock price to jump to $530. Seyrafi also estimates that 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.
Other analysts are also getting behind the iPhone 4S. According to a report from Bloomberg, most analysts believe Apple will sell 2 million to 3 million iPhone 4S units this weekend alone. Yankee Group analyst Carl Howe, however, told Bloomberg that iPhone 4S sales over the next few days will likely hit 4 million units.
All that optimism, plus an earnings release next week that's expected to shatter Wall Street expectations, has seemingly prompted investors to jump on Apple's shares today.
But it's the folks that have stuck with Apple over the years that are benefiting the most. Since October 2001, Apple's shares have jumped nearly 4,530 percent. And in the last five years, the company's stock has risen 455.75 percent. Even the last 12 months have proven profitable for Apple shareholders as the stock has gained nearly 38 percent in that time.
Updated at 1:59 p.m. PT: with stock price information following the market's close.