Apple's stock price climbed to its highest for four years on trading yesterday, as investors anticipated fresh product form the company.

The news - which sees Apple valued at $34.66 per share - is driven by continued optimism surrounding the company's music download services, high anticipation surrounding next week's iMac announcement and positive expectations for good sales of the HP-branded licensed iPod clone.

Analysts expect the latter product to outsell Apple's iPod fast, as HP (the world's number two PC manufacturer) has a large presence in electronics retailers worldwide.

More to look forward too

Describing the impetus for Apple's positive share movement, Cross Research analyst Shannon Cross told Reuters: "Tomorrow you've got HP doing their consumer electronics launch and the HP iPod launch, and next week there's the introduction of the new iMac."

The company has also been suffering this summer from low G5 processor yields from chip supplier IBM. IBM is understood to have been applying vast resources to solving production line problems that have afflicted processor yields, and Apple has stated that it expects these problems to be resolved through September.

In want

However, these manufacturing problems have been directly blamed for a two-month delay in shipping the new iMac. They have also hampered Apple's attempts to meet demand for Power Mac G5s and Xserve G5s. The upswing of this is that supply problems have generated a lot of pent-up demand.

"Even if they have issues with availability of chips in the near-term due to IBM, there's remarkable demand," Cross said. "Obviously, at some point the chip issue is going to be resolved and you'll be left with a good amount of pent-up demand."

Apple announced its highest third-quarter results for eight years on July 14, with a profit in excess of analyst's expectations of $61 million.

"We were very pleased with our 30 per cent year-over-year revenue growth and our operating margin expansion," said Peter Oppenheimer, Apple's CFO.