On top of that the company has amassed a $97.5 billion cash hoard that would be the envy of any small nation.
However, as a dispassionate observer with experience of past such glorious valuations, I will tell you: If I were an Apple shareholder I'd want a cash dividend.
In fact, I think investors should certainly demand payout of at least three quarters of that cash hoard.
Simply put, a dividend is the best way for Apple shareholders to get real value out of their investment.
If Apple decided to pay out a $25 billion dividend per annum, allowing shareholders to benefit directly from the company's profits, it would be less likely to diversify unwisely in the future.
By receiving such a dividend, Apple shareholders would find their capital value preserved and their income increased.
However, the temptation of the $97.5 billion cash hoard would remain and management would still dream of the $100 billion acquisition that could revolutionize Apple's prospects.
That's why besides an annual dividend of $15-$20 billion (giving a 3.75%-5% yield on a $400 billion capitalization), shareholders should demand that the cash hoard itself, or the great bulk of it, be paid out to them, by a special dividend of maybe $100 per share.
By doing that, the diversification risk would be removed, and Apple would retain only enough earnings to guard against the onset of recession.