News of an upcoming iPad and a possible deal between Apple TV and major networks has pushed Apple's stock to new heights this week.

Shares of Apple rose 1.85% to close at an all-time high of $648.11 Friday, pushing the company's world-leading market capitalization to $607.54 billion. To put Apple's value in perspective, Exxon Mobil Corp is the second most-valuable corporation in the world with a market capitalization of $408.1 billion.

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The jump to new heights reflects Apple's potential to be a more dominant media and technology company. Apple's shares rose 0.8% to $636.34 on Wednesday on news Apple is in serious talks http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390444375104577593693481339210.html with the cable industry about an Apple TV set-top box that will play broadcast TV and stream Internet fare. Until now Apple executives have talked down Apple TV and called it a "hobby." Shares rose again Friday after a Jeffries & Co. report said Apple has started production http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-08-17/apple-rises-to-intraday-record-on-ipad-mini-research-note on a small version of its popular iPad tablet computer.

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The stocks of Apple's main competitors are also faring well. Google's market capitalization is $220.7 billion. Google reached its 52-week high of $675 on Friday. Amazon, a relatively low-margin business compared to Apple, has a market capitalization of $109 billion. Its Friday high of $243.35 is about $3 off its 52-week high.

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