Apple is participating just fine, far better than any company. It's Apple shareholders who feel that they're not participating. Even that's only true when 8 month optics is applied. The opinions herein are all about what people have lost in last 8 months and want to rrgain in next few months, and nothing about what's good for Apple.
Btw, IBM's eps is indeed higher because of buyback. But to call it much higher would be pure hot air.
Maybe a bottom is near because you have Apple being compared to Motorola, Blackberry and HTC today by the analyst at Jefferies who basically says Apple is toast and will follow the path of those companies. Says Samsung is killing Apple and sees no answers, any answer appears too late, mindset will have shifted to thinking Apple is 2nd tier provider by the time they release new devices to compete.
That is the current bearish mentality on this company. Management has shown they have nothing to change the sentiment. Listen, reality is you really don't know the true character of a man until he is challenged. Lots of people can handle being front runners, but until Tim Cook actually innovates and executes and re-takes the lead from Samsung, its very easy to argue he's the type that isn't able to lead as a challenger, isn't able to lead from behind.