Apple has the most powerful combination of hardware, software and services in the industry, an analyst claims.

In another of his regular reports for investors, American Technology Research analyst Shaw Wu says: "Apple is well positioned to continue above market growth rates with arguably the industry's most powerful and complete stack of hardware, software, and service."

Wu points to the strong results PortalPlayer revealed on Monday. That company - which makes iPod components - promised a 30 per cent sequential revenue increase in its December quarter. Wu reads this as confirmation for his admittedly "bullish" forecast that Apple will sell 9.4 million iPods this quarter (a potential one-third of overall Apple revenue).

He also opined that white iPod nano sales and sales of the 2GB models are "catching-up" with the previously biggest-selling 4GB black model.

It's easy to forget that Apple isn't just "the iPod company"; Wu warns that Mac sales will also remain strong.

"We also believe Apple is well positioned on the Mac side with recent refreshes of iMac G5, PowerMac G5, and PowerBook G4. As we said recently, we believe the move to Intel PCI Express technology helps smooth the transition to Intel processors."

Wu rates Apple a 'Buy' with a $63 price target.