Apple shares hit an all-time high of $600 on the Nasdaq Thursday as the new iPad went on sale in Australia Friday morning.

Just one day before the new iPad hits the U.S., Apple stock reached $600 at Thursday's open, before giving up some gains in the morning trade. The new $600 high is more expensive than the tablet itself, which starts at a retail price of $499.

Apple has stunned the stock market as it has plunged up 47 percent for the year and 10 percent for the month, according to Reuters. Some analysts predict the stock will reach $700 within 12 months.

These are new highs for the move, so we're pushing another leg up here, Frank Lesh, a futures analyst and broker at FuturePath Trading LLC in Chicago, told Reuters. The market is trying to run to 1,400 here, and I would be surprised if we don't.

Australia iPad Launch

Initial sales numbers were down compared with previous iPad releases in Australia, but there was still a solid turnout for the tablet, which boasts  a 2048 x 1536, 3.1 million pixel Retina Display, the most ever in a mobile device.

David Tarasenko, a 34-year-old construction manager, was the first to pick up the iPad in Australia. When [Apple CEO] Tim Cook announced it, it sounded like such a magical tool. I just got hyped into it, I guess, he told Reuters.

The new iPad will hit stores across the world on Friday at 8 a.m. local time.  People have already starting lining up in front of London and New York stores, after the initial pre-orders for the tablet sold out online.

Demand for the new tablet is off the charts, according to Apple, and shipments for current pre-orders will start shipping from March 19, three days after the tablets retail launch.

The iPad will initially be available in stores in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, Switzerland, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

In the U.S., the iPad will be on sale at Best Buy, Radio Shack, Sam's Club, Target and Walmart, besides Apple stores.

More features of the new iPad

Processor: A5X quad-core processor touted as twice as fast and four times better performance than Tegra 3 chip.

Camera: 5-megapixel backside illuminated sensor on the back, 5-element lens, IR filter, and ISP built into the A5X chip.

Video: 1080p video recording.

Voice Dictation: Supports U.S. English, British, Australian, French, German and Japanese.

4G LTE: New iPad now has 21Mbps HSPA+ and DC-HSDPA at 42Mbps, with LTE taking the cake at 73Mbps. Verizon, Rogers, Bell, Telus and AT&T will be the LTE partners.

Battery Life: 10 hours of battery life still! 9 hours on 4G!

Size: 9.4mm thin, weighing 1.4lbs.

Price: $499 for 16GB! 32GB is $599 and 64GB for $699.

Release Date: March 16