How would you spend billions in cash? Maybe you’d go on a heck of a bender, or buy a clockwork pony engineered with gears of gold. There’s no bender or golden pony in store for Apple, though. Earlier today, the company announced that it will be launching a $10 billion dividend and share repurchase program. Hooray for responsible choices.

“We have used some of our cash to make great investments in our business through increased research and development, acquisitions, new retail store openings, strategic prepayments and capital expenditures in our supply chain, and building out our infrastructure,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook during a conference call. “You’ll see more of all of these in the future. Even with these investments, we can maintain a war chest for strategic opportunities and have plenty of cash to run our business. So we are going to initiate a dividend and share repurchase program.”

Dividends will begin at $2.65 per share in the fourth quarter of 2012. The $10 billion share repurchase scheme will begin on September 30, and will extend over a three year period.

“Combining dividends, share repurchases, and cash used to net-share-settle vesting RSUs, we anticipate utilising approximately $45 billion of domestic cash in the first three years of our programs,” said Apple CFO, Peter Oppenheimer. “We are extremely confident in our future and see tremendous opportunities ahead.”

Cook also used the conference call to share some numbers. 37 million iPhones were sold during Apple’s most recently-reported quarter, and 55 million iPads have been sold since the original model launched in spring of 2010. Cook predicts that number will jump to 325 million by 2015, and that the tablet market will soon make a significant dent in the PC userbase.