The image above, taken at about 10:00 a.m. PT via a search for Apple's ticket symbol (AAPL), shows the tale of the "ticker tape."
In doing so, Apple has bested its longtime rival, Microsoft, which had held that all-time mark since late in 1999.
On Dec. 30, 1999, Microsoft's market capitalization (or market cap) peaked when it reached an intraday high of $119.94 per share. With Microsoft having documented 5,160,024,593 outstanding shares as of October 31, 1999, per its quarterly earnings report, the company's market cap (which is share price times number of shares outstanding) would have been $618.89 billion on that date.
Apple's most recent quarterly filing listed 937,406,000 outstanding shares as of July 13, 2012; when the company's stock price hit a peak of $664.75 earlier today, its market cap was $623.14 billion.
Many expect the iPhone 5 to be introduced at a Sept. 12 press event, alongside other devices such as a new, smaller-screened iPad mini, a new iPod touch, and a new iPod nano. Some believe Apple will also introduce a new iPad with a smaller dock connector, which is rumored to be featured in the other new products.
The new iPhone would be the biggest announcement at that event, though. It's expected to sport a new, elongated 4-inch screen with a 16:9 aspect ratio, LTE, a larger battery, and a faster processor. Excitement seems to be spilling over from the minds of consumers into the minds of stock purchases.
However, just as with movie theater box office numbers, where "Avatar" is the No. 1 box office champ all-time (domestically) at $760.5 million, but when inflation is taken to account, "Gone with the Wind" trounces it with $1.64 billion, such is the case here, as well.
Adjusted for inflation, Microsoft's $618.89 billion market cap would be equivalent to approximately $842.5 billion in today's dollars. Microsoft employees can still cheer "We're No. 1 (with inflation)" if they so desire.
At the rate that Apple's stock price is climbing, though (Apple's range over 52 weeks is currently $354.24 - $664.75), that inflation-adjusted record is in jeopardy, too.