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Apple cash enough to pay $556 to every American

Apple's first-quarter earnings announcement had retail investors buzzing Wednesday morning about the company's $18 billion profits, the largest ever reported by a public company. Apple's revenue is equivalent to collecting $10 from every person in the world.

And the tech giant is hanging on to a lot of that cash. Its massive reserves of $178 billion are enough to pay every American $556, which outpaces the next-biggest player, Microsoft, at only $319 in reserves per U.S. resident.

Here's what else Apple executives could do with the extra funds.

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Apple could give $178 to every person living in extreme poverty in the world this year, enough to fund their $1.25-per-day living expenses for five months. Or, the Cupertino, California, goliath could buy every homeless person in America a three-bedroom house in New Jersey.

And forget the Obamacare debate and rising health care costs. Apple could pay the average yearly health insurance costs for almost 32 million Americans.

But we must not leave out the rich and famous; they have bills, too.

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With Apple's cash, Lindsay Lohan and 2.3 million of her closest Twitter followers could all make bail. Rapper T.I. could buy 10 of his gold grills for the entire population of his hometown of Atlanta, Georgia. Rupert Murdoch could bank roll 103 more divorces and still have money left over. If Apple bought a building filled with the world's most expensive apartments, it could buy 2,225 floors and house 445 families.

Currently selling an average of 10 iPhones and making almost $10,000 per second, Apple shows no signs of slowing down. With a plowback ratio of more than 70 percent, Apple seems to be saving for its next big projects.

Still, the company's yearly dividend is $1.88 or 1.7 percent; compare that to Microsoft's 2.6 percent.

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Now here's a chart for your lunch hour: how long each country could live off all the Big Macs that Apple could afford.