AGREED! The quick and logical way that cash-rich Apple can win back investor & employee confidence and new shareholders: to substantially increase the cash dividend soon. AAPL's Board should announce an appropriate 50% or greater dividend increase at the annual meeting on Feb. 27. Share buy-backs cannot match the appeal of direct cash payouts to investors.
Look, it's anybody's guess. In the past Apple board has really not been able to swerve direction of the company, especially with Jobs since he pretty much had the board in his pocket and no one dared go against him and why would you, look what he accomplished. Now with Cook, a change in personality and him being more of a regular CEO "hire" perhaps the board might push for more market or investor friendly decisions and votes. That was one of the key factors in the dividend announcement last year. So going forward we could be looking at decisions ranging from a stock split (unlikely as they seem to think it doesn't do squat for a company and they may be right), a higher dividend (higher chance, but then again the outside world doesnt really know what the company has been up to.
A recent article author discovered a rather large expense by Apple in its recent earnings report that left many people scratching their heads. Was that a new investment of some sort in a chip manufacturer etc we don't know. So knowing what's coming up in R&D the board might not vote for a higher dividend payout. Other than that I dont see them firing Cook, or doing anything like that, aside from stock price slump, he has been solid so far. He has come through the China Labor issue, the maps issue and handled them well. Will we see something more from Johny Ive. Possible. So although there is perception that the board meeting might result in some news, I doubt it. But the stock may still pop in the next few weeks in anticipation.
If stock splits then we see a pop and then sag for years unless a major new revolutionary product is introduced. If dividend maybe new investors come in but price move up from just that will not be huge but will support stock.