Analysts believe that investing in Apple stock still makes sense, despite serious gains in value so far this year.

Analysts at Piper Jaffray and American Technology Research both released optimistic forecasts on the company last night.

American Technology Research analyst Shaw Wu told clients: "While Apple shares have appreciated significantly in recent months, we continue to believe shares still have sizable upside ahead of Macworld Expo in January 2007."

Wu holds a 'Buy' rating on Apple's stock with a $92 target price. He reckons Apple will have a strong December quarter, with Mac and iPod sales maintaining their momentum.
"MacBook continues to be the top selling Mac due to its excellent value and solid feature set while MacBook Pro sales have rebounded following the recent refresh to Intel Core 2 Duo processors," he writes.

Wu also warns that pre-orders for the all-new iPod shuffle remain strong, "we continue to believe this dark horse could end up being the top selling iPod and gain significant share against flash competitors," he speculates.

Looking ahead, Wu sees no end of factors which will help Apple continue to boost its business, including: the release of Mac OS X 10.5 next year, the launch of iTV, the introduction of movies for sale through the iTunes Store from studios outside of Disney, new iPods, the fabled 'iPhone' and more.

Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster also shot some positive observations at his clients last night, according to Apple Insider, which has published Munster's comments in their entirety.

His report addresses 16 unanswered questions about the future of the company. These make fascinating reading, and confirm Munster's 'Outperform" rating and $99 price target on Apple stock.