Apple 'in a great position' for next computer boom

Writing for The Chicago Tribune, Alex L. Goldfayn said that Apple Computer Inc. is making progress wooing PC users to the platform, thanks to a combination of innovative products and an expanded high-profile retail presence. Goldfayn's analysis comes in a new article entitled Apple pictures growth (registration is required to view the story, but it's free).

Goldfayn said that Apple's redesigned iMac, the iPod digital music player, Mac OS X, and other technologies are all oriented at increasing the company's slim share of the personal computer market, which he said is about 3.9 percent in the United States.

Goldfayn also quoted analysts who note that despite a tough economy for many retailers, Apple's retail stores seem to be a push in the right direction. Analysts told Goldfayn that Apple Stores help to showcase Macs in an environment where they can get the full Mac experience. 40 percent of new iMacs are bought by first time buyers at Apple stores, compared with 28 percent when the first iMacs came out (before Apple retail stores were launched).

Even e-tailers like are clued into the popularity of Apple hardware -- the giant online retailer said that the new flat-panel iMac sold out faster than any computer in the company's history. Popularity of the iMac aside, Goldfayn points to Mac OS X, Microsoft Office v. X, and the iPod as other reasons why PC loyalists are now considering the Macintosh platform as an alternative.

Goldfayn said that despite the buzz around the new flat panel iMac, it's not expected to outsell its predecessor. One analyst told Goldfayn that he doesn't expect the next "boom in the home [computer] market" to occur until next year at the earliest, but when it happens, he said, "Apple will be in a great position."