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Apple preparing massive capital return programme for investors

Apple is preparing a huge capital return programme in the next three years valued at $150 to $200 billion (£97 billion to £130 billion), according to multiple investors and analysts.

Analysts believe due to the surge in iPhone sales up 50 per cent from 2013 to 74 million per quarter - alongside the launch of the Apple Watch and growth of Apple Pay - makes it a perfect time for Apple to offer a capital return programme.

Apple's CEO Tim Cook has also been noting the company does not want to hoard cash either, currently sitting on $180 billion (£117 billion). Cook might use the money towards investments and investor returns.

Several investment firms are pricing Apple at $140 (£91) to $175 (£113) per share due to the excellent quarterly reports, breaking the $1 trillion (£65 billion) valuation barrier.

Activist investor Carl Icahn claims Apple should be priced at $1.3 trillion (£85 billion), but Icahn is alone in this valuation with most investors taking more conservative guesses.

Even though Apple's share price is surging, 2015 is a critical year for the company, with the launch of the Apple Watch in April. If the smartwatch fails to deliver early sales of over 10 million, it could spell trouble for the technology giant.

Reports of an iPad Pro, 12-inch MacBook Air and iPhone 6S Mini show Apple is preparing to branch out its three main markets, but most analysts do not see any major improvements on all three product lines.

There is also the rumor of an Apple car, which should keep investors interested. Apple's venture into the automotive market could bring a market more explosive than mobile, if it manages to win over customers.

David has been a technology journalist for over six years, covering a wide range of sectors. He currently researches apps, app sectors and app markets for Business of Apps, and has written for ITProPortal, RTInsights, ReadWrite, and Digital Trends.