Apple has huge growth opportunities and appears likely to emerge as the "nexus of the digital lifestyle evolution", an analyst explained this morning.

Apple is rapidly transforming into the firm Sony always wanted to be, said Bear Sterns analyst Andrew Neff.

"In a sense, Apple is becoming what Sony always wanted to be: a visionary that seamlessly integrates the best-of-breed hardware with content to fundamentally alter the way we live - and iPod is just the beginning, like Walkman before it," he wrote, according to Forbes.

Neff warns investors not to underestimate Apple, a company that creates products that are renowned for their ability to create disruptive change, he warns.

Apple's move into video, for example, has changed the way video is created (Final Cut Pro, iMovie) and how it is consumed (iTunes Music Store and iPod video).

Looking ahead, Neff predicts Apple will make further moves into consumer electronics, suggesting it may even reveal an HDTV device with iPod features built in, a new mobile phone, or even an iPod camera may emerge.

Neff's comments appear as his colleague, Robert Peck, warns that search giant Google may have plans to launch an iTunes-competing service of its own.

Bear Strerns rates Apple as an "outperforming" stock with a $103 target price.