Here's the full announcement as emailed to employees by Cook:
I’m writing you today to announce a new stock ownership program for employees.
For many years, we have offered people across the company the opportunity to become shareholders in Apple by participating in the Employee Stock Purchase Plan (ESPP), which makes Apple stock available at a discount that’s exclusive to our employees. Many of you have taken advantage of this program, and I am told we have one of the highest participation rates of any company offering employee stock purchase plans.
In addition to the ESPP, employees in certain roles have been eligible to receive restricted stock units. Each year, the management team recommends eligible employees — typically from our product areas — to receive RSUs as an incentive to continue their important contributions to Apple. Each grant is approved by the Board of Directors.
This year, I’m excited to let you know that the Executive Team has created a new program for stock ownership through RSU grants. It’s designed to reach employees who were not previously eligible, including many in our amazing retail and AppleCare teams.
This new program extends eligibility to everyone not covered by other RSU programs, effectively making everyone who works at Apple eligible for an RSU grant. This is an unusual step, and very special — just like our team.
Please check HRWeb for details on this new program.
At Apple, our most important resource — our soul — is our people. Along with our many progressive benefit plans, this is another way for us to say thanks. On behalf of the Executive Team, I’d like to thank you for your many contributions to Apple. Working with all of you is the privilege of a lifetime.
RSU awards are already being distributed to employees with Apple Retail saying that initial grants range from $1000 to $2000 worth of shares. The amounts like increase based on length of employment, position, and project. The move is designed to help Apple retain its talented employees.