According to an industry analyst, Apple seems set to add more unique features to Leopard, its next OS (operating system), exploiting the delay until Windows Vista hits the market.

In a note to clients, American Technology Research analyst Shaw Wu states: "We believe that with Windows Vista likely to be further delayed as a result of stability issues with its latest Beta 2.0 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 next 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, offering 64bit quad-core processing, 1GB of memory and extensive expansion capability. In addition, it compares favourably with 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 [about £1,575-£3,150]. 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 per cent of the company's Mac business.