Apple's retail chief, Ron Johnson, will speak to analysts at the fourth ThinkEquity Annual Growth Conference hours after the company's big 'Showtime' announcement on 12 September.

ThinkEquity analyst Jonathan Hoopes anticipates the company will debut new iPods and a movie download service through iTunes, and expects Johnson will discuss how Apple's retail presence can help execute its future strategy.

Both Apple events take place on the same day as Dell's own analyst meeting. "It appears Apple CEO Steve Jobs wants to steal Michael Dell's thunder," Hoopes notes.

The analyst thinks Apple's retail stores are a real asset to the brand: "Traditional PC retail distribution models provide no place for run-of-the-mill commodity box vendors to hide. Meanwhile, since its launch in mid-2001, the Apple retail store has redefined the consumer computing landscape," he explains.

"Apple is perfecting a next-generation retail experience and we believe the stores are core to Apple's establishing a premier consumer electronics brand."

ThinkEquity rates Apple as a stock to buy with a $90 target price. Hoopes thinks that there has never been a company in the PC industry better-positioned than Apple to gain marketshare and profitability.