Apple (AAPL) End of Day Rally on News

Edit: Apple (AAPL) End of day rally 515.85 (3:45est) but what caused this?

As 2012 comes to a close, it appears that when it comes to Apple news, a key item in discussion is still tied to questions about the tech firm’s ability to keep fending off competition. Despite successes as it refreshed its product lines with the iPhone 5 and iPad family of devices, it seems that incremental improvement upon established upon its previously successful model is not enough to sate investor demand in a wake of like products hitting the market in the form of Android and Windows platform tablets. This remains true today as shares of Apple traded at 509.43 at 2:52 ET Thursday, even though consumer demand for Apple product still remains high.

The iPad mini still driving a decent customer interest worldwide even if pricing on Apple products is still structured to make money off of the device and Google’s empire doesn’t seem to be as concerned about the hardware.

It appears that the Android market model of flooding the market with devices rather than launching a lineup of one improved product in each category of device is a winning strategy for Google at this moment—but that’s because Google is dealing in markets that consumers already recognize. They’ve implemented this strategy since they crushed every other competitor in the search engine and email markets. Google does it, and Google does it better.

On the other hand, it’s common knowledge that the smartphone market was failing before Apple ever got into it, and the tablet market’s initial success seems to be attached to the birth of the iPad—even if advanced e-readers and Asus-built competitors are starting to flood the market.

This may be why innovation at this point in the market cycle is still absolutely crucial to Apple’s future success. And it seems if Tim Cook wants a larger salary next year, he’s going to have to innovate to earn it. His pay earned under Jobs as chief operating officer in 2010 was 14 times higher than what he got this year, which also pales in comparison to the record pay package he was awarded in 2011. This year, he only got what Tim Ghriskey, chief investment officer of the Solaris group, calls “normal compensation” when interviewed for a report on Cook’s salary for Reuters.

It’s also the case that Apple’s shares remain 35 percent higher than when Cook took the helm, they have fallen more than 27 percent since October. Investor confidence has to beat the fiscal cliff, increased competition, and the growing controversy that surrounds production in overseas factories.

As for other potential decisions apple leadership can make, rumor has it that future production of the Mac Mini might happen on U.S soil, which may help stem some of the controversy that has plagued overseas Foxconn factories. I’m not holding my breath—but this speculation might be plausible for two major reasons: Apple has already announced it will spend upwards of $100 million to bring some Mac production back and it just makes sense that a model with decent sales would be made for a successful move to U.S. production.