Apple (AAPL) Recap: Stock Surges $33.74 as Analysts Like Future

On Monday, Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) hired Simon Prakash, who worked at Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) for over eight years and was most recently the senior director of product integrity. Prakash will be working for Google on a secret project, possibly run by Google co-founder Sergey Brin.

Additionally, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) leaped past Samsung and LG to become the best-selling U.S. handset brand in the fourth quarter of 2011, said NPD Group. In a quarter that featured the launch of the iPhone 4S and the addition of Sprint (NYSE:S), Apple’s three available models combined to capture 43% of the U.S. smartphone market in Q4, NPD added. However, Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android operating system maintained a 48%-43% over Apple among U.S. smartphone buyers, and among the first-time smartphone buyers in Q4, 57% purchased Android phones compared to just 34% who purchased iPhones, the firm added.

Tuesday, Halliburton (NYSE:HAL) decided to phase out thousands of employee BlackBerrys (NASDAQ:RIMM) in favor of Apple’s iPhone (NASDAQ:AAPL). Then, it was revealed Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) may expand its Apple Store-in-store program beyond Best Buy (NYSE:BBY) and Target (NYSE:TGT) by using a similar model in partnership with Walmart-owned (NYSE:WMT) Sam’s Club, according to 9to5 Mac sources. Sam’s Club and Apple are talking about store-in-stores, as well as a backup plan of Sam’s Club simply selling Apple’s Macs but without the Apple Store features, the report noted. Also, in Canada, telecommunications firms Rogers Communications (NYSE:RCI) and BCE Inc. (NYSE:BCE) are in talks with Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) to become Canadian launch partners for its Apple iTV, reported the Globe and Mail.

On Wednesday, Daily Mail reported hackers have been breaking into hundreds of iTunes’ (NASDAQ:AAPL) user accounts to steal money from store credit and gift cards. Meanwhile, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) asked the European Telecommunications Standards Institute to set basic principles governing how member companies license their patents, reported the Wall Street Journal. Also, Buffalo Wild Wings (NASDAQ:BWLD) announced it is launching a second phase of a pilot program which gives customers access to Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPads, after working out technical issues at one of its Toronto restaurants, reported Computerworld, citing the company’s director of international business. Lastly, rumors swirled over Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) introducing Chinese language support for Siri, its voice recognition tool in the iPhone 4S, in March, according to Shanghai Daily, citing a report from CCTime.com.

Thursday, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) said it will soon begin to enforce stronger controls over software built for Mac computers, and will restrict how some apps can access certain parts of the operating system and hardware, as the company moves to standardize consumers’ experience across all Apple devices, reported the Wall Street Journal. Also, Canaccord’s checks indicated the iPhone market share increased with strong sales in international markets. The firm raised its March quarter iPhone estimates to 32.6M units from 30.1M units. Apple shares remained a Top Pick with a $665 price target, up from $650. And, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) said it will launch its iPad 3 during the first week in March, according to All Things D.

Friday, a number of users of Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iTunes service were reportedly getting refunds after their accounts had been hacked and cleaned out, according to CNET, though Apple did not say much about the underlying issue and how it will be resolved. And, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) plans to launch a pair of “radically redesigned” MacBook Pros, reported Apple Insider. According to people familiar with Apple’s roadmap, the company plans to exit 2012 by completing a revamp of their notebooks lineup from top to bottom.

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To contact the reporter on this story: Derek Hoffman at staff.writers@wallstcheatsheet.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Damien Hoffman at editors@wallstcheatsheet.com