updated 10:25 am EDT, Mon August 14, 2006
Leopard, Intel transition
One analyst today offered praise to Apple following tests of a developers-only copy of Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard. "We believe Leopard will be seen as superior to Windows Vista and boost Apple's growing market share," Piper Jaffray senior analyst Gene Munster said. "After a week of testing the Leopard preview, we are impressed with the next generation operating system." The firm tested the most significant new features such as Time Machine, a comprehensive file backup interface; Spaces, which virtualizes multiple desktop spaces; Mail 3.0; and Safari 3.0. Munster also believes that the way in which Apple chooses to integrate Boot Camp into Leopard will significantly change the impact of Boot Camp on the company's ability to capture market share from Windows users. "As Boot Camp moves from beta to an official version in Leopard and the Windows installation becomes more user-friendly, increasing numbers of Windows users will switch to a Mac."
The firm spent time talking to 16 developers at the World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC) regarding their thoughts on the Intel transition one year after it began. Despite some concerns from industry watchers that the transition will negatively impact Mac application development, Munster believes that conversations point to the contrary.
Of those 16 developers, 14 said that Windows running on a Mac will positively impact Mac application development, according to the analyst. All of those 14 developers who have ported an application from PowerPC to Universal Binary said the process was easier than they originally expected. Additionally, 15 of the 16 developers believe that the Intel transition will result in a greater number of Mac applications in the future.
"With more than 4,200 attendees compared to 3,500 last year (up 20 percent), Apple's WWDC '06 was the highest attended Developers conference in company history," Munster said.
Piper Jaffray maintained its "outperform" rating with a price target of $99 on Apple shares.