Draw a circle in Illustrator using the circle tool. (keyboard shortcut: L)
Thicken the stroke of the circle to make this effect more noticeable (8 pt in this example)
Make the line dashed by clicking on the dashed line icon. The default dash length is 12 pts (and a gap setting set to zero or blank) which will work fine for this example. Now click on the round cap button to give each dash a rounded cap.
You may think that it would be possible to outline the stroke by using the menu command Object > Path > Outline Stroke, but no. The only way that I've found so far is to access the transparency pallet.
Enter a value of 99 for the transparency
Now go to the Object > Flatten Transparency.
In the pop-up menu use a 100 value or move the slider all the way to the right to the Vector position.
The path and rounded caps will now have editable points.
An unknown object within the interior of the outlined stroke has been created. Deselect all segments by clicking on any blank area in the document. Then delete the center object by first selecting the interior object with the Direct Selection tool (keyboard shortcut: A) and then delete.
After reselecting the segments with the selection tool (keyboard shortcut: V), ungroup the outlined segments by using Object > Compound Path > Release and then Object > Ungroup.
Each segment is now fully customizable.