The electronics giant’s shares hit an all-time high today, making it the first company to be valued at more than $700 billion at the end of the trading day — winding up at $710.7 billion. As fate would have it, CEO Tim Cook was able to take a victory lap, telling an investor gathering that Apple has agreed to spend nearly $850 million to help First Solar build a 2,900-acre solar farm in Monterey County that can power all of its California offices and stores. They plan for the facility to be operational by the mid-2016. Apple’s 25-year solar power purchase agreement is the largest one with a commercial user.
“We know at Apple that climate change is real and the time for talk has passed,” Cook told the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference in San Francisco. “We’re doing this because it’s right to do. But you also might be interested to know that it is good financially. We expect to have a very significant savings because we have a fixed price for the renewable energy.”
While talking up his company, Cook predicted great things for the Apple Watch. “We want to change the way you live your life. … We see the Apple watch doing that.” The CEO says it can turn on when the user looks at it and off when the user turns away. He says he’s “super excited” about apps coming from third-party developers, including those that monitor heart rates and one that reminds users to get up and move at least once an hour. “I can’t live without this anymore.”
Cook also is upbeat about the new Apple Pay electronic funds transfer system. The rollout “is going faster than I thought.” Earlier today JetBlue said that it will allow owners of iPhone 6 handsets or an Apple Watch to use them to buy snacks or other amenities on certain flights once they hit cruising altitude. Cook adds that Apple doesn’t harvest the data about the transaction. “Customers have a right to privacy. …You are not our product. That is our product. That is how customers want us to look at the world.”