Apple has no plans for a major share buy back, assured Apple's vice president of finance and corporate controls Peter Oppenheimer at a Prudential technology conference in New York yesterday.

Oppenheimer explained that Apple needs its $4 billion cash reserves to retain employees and reassure customers - particularly in the education sector - of the company's viability. Employees and customers collectively benefit from feeling the company is secure because of those cash reserves, he explained.

"It's in our best interest and our shareholders' best interest to maintain our cash balance. We don't have plans right now for an aggressive share buyback," Oppenheimer told Reuters.

He admitted Apple bought back shares following the September 11 attacks, at a time when many companies embarked on share buy backs to preserve stock values in a rapidly declining market.

Apple's shares closed at $17.56 (down 0.23 per cent) yesterday, climbing to $18.04 on the after-hours market. The slight loss was in contrast to the Nasdaq, which climbed 1.37 per cent (22.79 points) yesterday, closing at 1690.20.