ThinkEquity Partners raised its Mac OS X software revenue and CPU shipment estimates based on high expectations for Mac sales following the launch of Mac OS X Leopard.

The analysts believe that Leopard will drive an OS upgrade cycle at least on par with Tiger, and they also indicate that a number of current trends could result in Mac sales.

ThinkEquity expects that because Vista has established a "hardware upgrade mindset" among PC users, consumers will be thinking of upgrading and some may consider the Mac as an alternative. “We expect Apple CPU unit shipments to benefit from Vista tailwinds,” states analyst Jonathan Hoopes.

Hoopes also expects that the launch of Adobe CS3 will be a catalyst for Mac sales to professional users. “We believe that Adobe Creative Suite 3 (CS3) will be released at around the same time as Leopard,” he says, adding: “We estimate Apple's creative professional user base is about 4-5 million and many of these users rely heavily on Adobe's Creative Suite.”

Hoopes states that ThinkEquity believes many creative professionals have been waiting to upgrade their systems. “The release of CS3 should help unlock pent-up demand among this user group,” he claims.

The analysts also note that the Mac v PC ad campaign, Apple’s retail presence, strong iPod unit shipments, and the buzz around the iPhone should drive further CPU share gain acceleration. Apple's popular Mac ad campaign are likely to combine into a "maybe I should buy a Mac" decision, claims Hoopes.

The analyst house has reiterated its BUY rating and $120 target for Apple.