Analysts Size up Apple, Leopard's Prospects

With the release of Appleis Leopard OS looming, analysts are sizing up Appleis increasing market share and prospects as a company, according to The Mercury News on Monday.

In January, Apple dropped the word "computer" from its name, and thereis been a lot written about the iPhone ever since. However, Apple remains a computer company.

"Some have said Apple is pushing the Mac out of the way," said Rick Shim, an analyst with market research firm IDC. "I wouldnit say thatis the case at all. The Mac is still central to their universe."

In punctuation of that, Mr. Shim pointed to Appleis market share growth in the U.S. and the world. In the 2Q this year, Apple had 5.9 percent of the U.S. market. Globally, Mr. Shim reported that Appleis market share has risen from 2.5 percent to 3 percent over the last year.

"If Apple is able to deliver on all of the stuff they are showing to date with Leopard, there is no doubt in my mind they will have another hit on their hands," said Michael Gartenberg, research director at Jupiter Research.

This observation that Apple is paying attention to all of its core technologies is keeping analysts enthusiastic. "Despite an over-hyped phone, in our opinion, we believe Appleis business continues to accelerate and is firing on all cylinders going into December," W.R. Hambrecht analyst Matthew Kather told his investors in late September.

Finally, itis not just the iPhone and iPods. Itis not even the balance of the legacy Mac against the new consumer technologies. In addition, there is awareness of Appleis vision that ties it all together and sets the stage for the future. "Certainly, you canit complain if you own the stock," said Scott Rothbort, the president of LakeView Asset Management. "As an investor, if you can think out of the box, you will see where this company is going."