Apple grows Leopard as Vista delays persist

Apple seems set to add more unique features to its new Leopard OS, exploiting the delay until Microsoft ships Windows Vista, an analyst believes.

In a note to clients, American Technology Research analyst Shaw Wu states: "We believe with Windows Vista likely further delayed due to stability issues with its latest Beta 2 version and its "look and feel" and feature set essentially a "clone" of Apple's currently shipping Mac OS X Tiger, Apple is choosing to spend more time adding features unique to Leopard."

He observes Apple's decision not to ship its new OS until spring 2007, noting Apple's own admission that the software will contain some "secret" features that the company doesn't wish to reveal to its competitors yet.

Wu also declares Apple's new professional desktop Mac, the Mac Pro, to be "actually, good value".

"While the price of a Mac Pro may appear high, we believe it is fairly good value with 64-bit quad-core processing, 1GB of memory, and extensive expansion capability. In addition, it compares favorably to Apple's previous prices for PowerPC G5 based quad-core Macs. In our analysis, it is also very competitive with high-end PCs and workstations that cost $3,000-6,000. We anticipate this product to sell fairly well in its key markets including professional (film and video, music and audio, science and technical computing, design and print, and photography) and high-end consumers, who have patiently waited for a high-end Intel Mac."

He estimates that segment of Apple's market makes up 15-20 percent of the company's Mac business.

Wu holds a buy rating and US$75 target price on Apple's stock.

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