Leading IT-industry analysts AG Edwards has struck an optimistic note for the future of Apple – while warning of further turmoil for Wintel companies.

Apple is likely to gain market-share on its consumer products, because its customers are "materially uninterested" in Wintel alternatives, according to AG Edwards analyst Brett Miller.

The company "favours" Apple's shares, believing that consumer market-conditions are "creating one of the best opportunities for Apple to gain market share", according to AFX News.

Asserting that Apple is also offering "the best available" consumer-level digital video and audio solutions, and praising the company's products and sales strategy, Miller rates Apple stock as a "buy".

Most tellingly, the analyst said: "Two facts are becoming clear: Apple will be in the face of the consumer and education markets like never before." He also went on to praise Apple's retail strategy.

Miller also cited Apple's distance from the Wintel price war as a plus for the company. He predicts a period of vicious warfare for market share between the main Wintel players, with ongoing brawls expected on price and performance.

AG Edwards also issued a cautious guide to Dell shares, rating it as 'reduce'.

Reflecting IDC's comments last week, the analyst expects the industry to begin to recover in the fourth quarter 2001. Apple's shares climbed slightly by $0.72 on Friday, closing at $18.55.