Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) may be in recovery mode. The company’s shares closed at $533.40, which is the highest closing price since the beginning of this year. In premarket trading, shares continued to rise a bit, inching above $536.

Apple BlackBerry

Apple’s share buyback going along nicely

Daniel Eran Dilger of Apple Insider notes that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s share buyback over the summer came at a key time. It bought back 36 million shares during the June quarter for an average price of $444 per share. He notes that if the company had waited until now to buy those shares back, Apple would have paid $3.2 billion more to buy them back now.

Carl Icahn wants even more

This pushes the question about Carl Icahn’s push to get Apple to buy back $150 billion worth of its shares as soon as possible. His main argument has been that the company should take advantage of low interest rates to finance a buyback while shares are cheap. But while interest rates remain low, Apple’s shares are on the rise, suggesting that his reason for pushing a share buyback could be waning.

After all, why would Apple buy back shares when they’ve become more expensive? Of course if the company thinks they will rise even further, buying back more shares would make sense. We’re still a far cry from the high of around $705 a share in September 2012. However, if Apple is unsure about whether shares will get that high again, then it might not be interested in Carl Icahn’s suggestion for much longer.

Any near-term catalysts for Apple?

BGC analyst Collin Gillis said this week that he sees few near-term catalysts left for Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL). However, he believes that a deal with China Mobile, which could be announced on Dec. 18, could boost shares further.

Will Apple head back to $705 a share? If so, it will likely take some time to get there, but the rising price of late is a good sign, and we could see more gains if Apple reveals very positive iPhone sales numbers for the holiday quarter.