Shares of Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL), the world's most valuable technology company, set new record highs Friday ahead of next Wednesday's announcement of a new member of the iPhone family, perhaps the iPhone 5.

During the first hour, shares hit a record high of $681.50, before easing back to $680.31, up $4.03, valuing the company at a record $637.7 billion, making the Cupertino, Calif., electronics king the world's most valuable company.

Apple overtook Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM), the No. 1 U.S. energy producer, as No. 1 in value in the first quarter. Exxon shares rose 87 cents to $89.86, bringing its market value to $414.2 billion.

Bullish analysts have predicted Apple shares could top $1,111 within a year on the basis of strong product introductions and demand for its iPhones, iPads and other products.

Apple shares have gained 68 percent in 2012.