The obvious answer is that they’re going to do a dividend. But remember that Apple doesn’t always do what’s obvious. Also remember that the majority of their cash (and cash equivalents) is overseas. If they try to bring that money stateside, it’s going to be taxed accordingly.
I’d still bet on dividend, but I wouldn’t bet against something else. Maybe building more of their own facilities overseas? Committing money towards something that allows them to control even more of their build process would make sense.
To that end, maybe crazy, but what about buying Samsung? It would both harm Google (Samsung is by far the most successful Android partner) and help Apple (which still heavily relies on Samsung chips and screens, etc). They don’t have quite enough cash to do that (but almost!), but the cash they do have could surely sweeten a deal.
But would they be allowed to do that? And would they want to? The Google/Motorola deal looks to be a nightmare, why would Apple want to take on something similar? Unless, of course, they’re about to get into the television business…
Anyway, I’m just dreaming out loud here. It will probably just be a boring old dividend.
Update: A number of folks have pointed out how odd it would be for Apple to have a press conference just for a dividend. Agreed, that would be weird — but there has been an abnormal amount of interest in this topic due to Apple’s $100 billion stockpile.
Maybe a stock buyback is more likely? Or maybe it really will be something fairly crazy?
I like this idea a lot more than my totally crazy Samsung dream…