By Philip Elmer-DeWitt
September 7, 2012

FORTUNE — “When is the worst time to launch a phone?” Topeka’s Brian White asked in a note to clients Wednesday.

His answer: “When Apple does.”

Sure enough, although Nokia (NOK) and Google’s (GOOG) Motorola division launched new smartphones Wednesday and Amazon (AMZN) introduced a new Kindle Fire tablet Thursday, none of them managed to overshadow investors’ rising enthusiasm for the new iPhone Apple (AAPL) is expected to unveil next week.

In the face of the new competitors — not to mention Samsung’s Galaxy S III, which continues to drain market share from the iPhone — Apple closed at a new all-time high* of $676.27 Thursday, up $6.04 (0.9%) for the day.

*Apple briefly hit an all-time intraday high of $680.87 on Aug. 27, the first trading day after the Samsung verdict, but closed that day at $675.68.

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