Apple's focus on making its products easier to use than those from its competitors gives it a big advantage in the emerging convergence between computers and consumer devices.

A report from analyst firm Research And Markets, says: "Apple's biggest advantage is its knack for making products that are easier to use than the competition's, a desirable skill in the mainstream consumer market."

The company's strategy also wins praise from the researchers, "Apple seems to have hit upon an excellent strategy, virtually creating two new businesses in iPod and iTunes, though its ultimate success will depend on the company's ability to drive sales of Macintosh computers and its OS X operating system", they observe.

The report describes the arrival of computer companies in the traditional consumer electronics market as in contrast to established business wisdom; though adds that computer companies see such moves as "hastening the convergence of media".

The report looks at the advantages computer companies bring to the market - experience in price changes and frequent product upgrades; component sourcing skills and existing distribution channels.

The much-touted debut of new 'Media PCs', devices that combine TV and computer in a single box, gets short thrift.

"The evidence suggests that media heaven will have to wait. The day won't come when you don't need a PC. Apple CEO Steve Jobs also is on record stating his disbelief that the PC and TV eventually will meld into a single product. Nor have consumers shown much interest to date in "single-box, single-brand" solutions, which could pose an obstacle to broader acceptance of media PCs," the report states.