Apple appears to have posted a Frequently Asked Questions on Stock Splits. It's not clear if this is a new post, a search on Google shows it last cashed at 17 Feb 2013 and it doesn't appear to have changed since then.
The company explains that there have been three 2-for1 stock splits in Apple history.
15 June, 1987
21 June 2000
28 February 2005
The article goes into a lot of detail about how a 2-for-1 stock split works.
"A 2-for-1 split means that a new share of stock is issued for each share in existence prior to the split. After the split, each share is worth half of what it was worth immediately prior to the split," says Apple.
It continues: "Let's assume that as of the Record Date (February 18, 2005) an investor owns 100 shares of Apple common stock and let's also assume that the market price of Apple stock is $80 per share, so that the investment in Apple is worth $8,000. Let's also assume that Apple's stock price doesn't move up or down between the record date and the time the split actually takes place. Immediately after the split, the investor would own 200 shares of Apple stock, but the market price would be $40 per share. The investor's total investment value in Apple would remain the same at $8,000 until the stock price moves up or down."
Crucially there are "no tax consequences to U.S. residents as a result of Apple's stock split," writes Apple. One of the issues surrounding the calls for Apple to return more of its cash hord to shareholders is the fact that the company would have to pay billions in tax on the money as it is currently held off shore.
It does note that: "Foreign residents should consult their local tax advisors."
The article goes on to explain how a stock split works and how the shares will be adjusted.
As we wrote earlier today, yesterday investment manager Doug Kass started a rumour that Apple will announce a stock split. He tweeted: "High above the Alps my Gnome is hearing a rumor that Apple will announce a stock split at tomorrow's shareholder meeting."
This set of rumour and speculation, and sent Apple's share price up, eventually closing at $448.97 (up from $442.80 the day before, and a low of $437.66 during the day's trading). However, now it is being suggested that Kass was manipulating the stock, especially since, shortly after tweeting his gnome-lead rumour, he tweeted that: "Apple is now trading near $449, up from the day's low at $437.65." Prudence dictates that I sell off some of this outsized position"
According to Forbes, Apple couldn't split its stock. As Forbes explains: "Based on the number of shares issued at about 940 million and only having authorization to issue 1.8 billion shares the company could not even execute a 2 for 1 split."