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Apple seen doubling or even tripling market share of iPhone & Mac

Apple's growth has been called the "ultimate platform adoption story" in a new analysis, which sees the potential for Mac and iPhone market shares to double or even triple in the next few years.

Shaw Wu with Sterne Agee said in a note to investors on Wednesday that Apple's adoption story includes "plenty of headroom for growth" in the coming years, in both the consumer and enterprise markets. He noted that Apple's iPhone has only 4 percent to 5 percent share of all mobile phones, and the Mac owns a similar share of total PC sales.

"We believe AAPL has opportunity to double or potentially even triple its market share in these end markets over the next few years, particularly with Greater China and international as underpenetrated opportunities," Wu said.

"We think the beauty with the AAPL platform story is the company doesn't need to win over everyone to continue success. The company just needs to continue winning a fair share of its vast end markets as more users get the AAPL advantage of 'it just works better.'"

Wu believes that Apple could be the best-positioned technology company to take advantage of what he sees as three "secular mega trends" that will drive technology in the next decade. They are:

  • The mobile Internet
  • Cloud computing
  • The consumerization of technology

Apple in particular will be driven by what Wu sees as a strong product cycle in the second half of 2011, including the recently launched Mac OS X 10.7 Lion and the soon-to-debut iOS 5 for iPad and iPhone, set for release this fall. Apple has also refreshed most of its Mac lineup this year, including the new MacBook Airs released last month with high-speed Thunderbolt ports.

Wu also reiterated his belief that Apple's anticipated fifth-generation iPhone could be a "bigger upgrade than expected." Citing industry sources, he indicated again on Wednesday that a so-called "iPhone 5" is expected to include dual-core processors, better cameras, a bigger screen, and a thinner form factor.

Sterne Agee has maintained its "buy" rating for AAPL stock, and reaffirmed its $500 price target. Wu believes Apple is positioned to outperform in the current tough macroeconomic environment.