Apple stock climbed to a new record high on yesterday's trades, closing at $167.91.

Positive trading met several high-profile recommendations from analysts and a recent market summary which said that the company's market capitalisation seems set to overtake that of IBM next year.

Market watchers point to continued strong sales in all Apple segments: Macs, iPods, iPhone, software and services. They anticipate this month's release of Mac OS X 10.5 will help further propel Apple's fortunes.

Analysts don't think the ever-increasing number of competitors offering music download services other than iTunes will have a detrimental impact on the company's revenue going forward. This is because Apple makes very little money on iTunes sales, and iPod sales are clearly assured as the online music world increasingly moves to making music available free of rights-restricting DRM.

Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard seems set to bring more cash into Apple's coffers, with Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster predicting the release could generate $240m in the fourth quarter of 2007.

The analyst notes that the installed base of Mac OS X users has now climbed from 12m to 23m users.

The November debut of the iPhone in the UK also seems set for success. Munster predicts Apple will deliver a subnotebook or a multi-touch-enabled PDA at Macworld Expo, San Francisco next January.

Apple's continued success - achieving a new record stock price - comes at a point that's fairly significant in the historical calendar.

Speaking in October 1997, shortly after Steve Jobs returned to Apple, Dell CEO Michael Dell told an audience of analysts that Apple was finished, saying: "What would I do? I'd shut it [Apple] down and give the money back to the shareholders."

Jupiter Research analyst Michael Gartenberg was at the meeting where the now beleaguered Dell leader made his comments.

Gartenberg writes: "It seems Apple shareholders did quite OK the way things turned out. :)".