To date the iPod and Apple's retail stores have had only a minimal effect on Apple's overall Mac market share, but a report is suggesting that this could change.

According to BusinessWeek: "Signs indicate even more future converts."

While the big market-research firms suggest that the effect of the iPod and Apple's stores has been limited, BusinessWeek notes: "The fact is, Apple's share would almost certainly be even lower without them, and Apple says roughly half the PC buyers in its stores are first-time Mac customers or returnees from Wintel PCs."

According to the report, evidence ishows Apple is positioned to pick up a share of the PC market. A recent survey of PC buyers by the Technometrica Institute of Policy and Politics, found that 8 per cent of respondents intended to buy an Apple.

TechnoMetrica analyst Constantine Kambanis said: "That's second only to Dell and up from 5 per cent in May. For Apple, that's very good. People have known about Apple, but they're looking at it again for the first time in a long time."

While the Stores are ensuring Apple is at the forefront of computer buyers minds, the iPod is encouraging ex-Mac users back to the fold. iPod owners Geoffrey Nix and Justine Withers returned to the Mac in 2003, partially due to their iPod experience. Withers told BusinessWeek: "The iPod is just another sign of Apple's continuing innovation."

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