Apple has seized the initiative in digital media from other players in that market - and the company predicts a 52 per cent increase in sales this year.

Testament to this was a speech RealNetworks founder Rob Glaser made to analysts this week at the Goldman Sachs Technology Symposium. The Seattle Times reports, "the room was half empty and only a handful of investors stayed around to ask questions."

Apple chief financial officer Peter Oppenheimer also spoke to analysts there, attracting 100 investors in a standing-room only crowd, the report explains.

Epoch Investment Partners managing director David Pearl remains optimistic about Apple, predicting the stock would continue to outperform the industry: "Apple is transforming from a niche computer company into a consumer-electronics company", he said. He expects Apple will emerge as a new Sony.

Oppenheimer predicted a 52 per cent increase in sales this year, but cautioned against expecting such growth levels to be sustainable.

"Goldman Sachs estimates Apple's profit will grow 187 per cent in 2005, 14 per cent in 2006 and 13 per cent in 2009", the report explains.

RealNetworks however is rated as an "underperforming" stock, according to Goldman Sachs.