Mac users eager to get their hands on Mac OS X Tiger queued in their thousands outside Apple stores and retailers worldwide last Friday, but Wall Street was less impressed with the new upgrade to the operating system than it is with the iPod.

Apple's share price climbed 1 per cent following the launch of Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger, but this is a small increase compared to the 4 per cent jump following the launch of the iPod shuffle back in January.

While the stock market seems to have iPods in its eyes, some analysts see growth potential in Tiger, however.

Rosy outlook

Merrill Lynch analyst Steve Millunovich believes Tiger should increase Apple's share of desktop computers sold. He said: "Previous OS releases did not boost Apple's PC share. Based on the features of Tiger and the halo effect from the iPod, we think Apple's PC share outlook is rosier this time."

If the numbers who turned up at the London Apple Store on Friday are anything to go by, the take up for Mac OS X Tiger looks set to beat Mac OS X Panther, released in October 2003. Whether it is the so called iPod halo effect, the presence of the store in London, or new features such as Spotlight that enticed the Mac minions out to buy a copy of the latest OS upgrade, Apple has never seen a launch of such epic propitiations.

Paris Hilton's halo

Analyst Rob Enderle doesn't credit the iPod with the phenomenal interest in Tiger. He called the iPod halo effect "a myth," suggesting: "From what I'm seeing, the iPod simply drives people into the stores, and the foot traffic helps move product. The iPod benefits the entire Apple product line, but Apple could have done the same thing by having Paris Hilton, or some other celebrity, visit the Apple stores."

Whatever drives buyers into the Apple Stores, Millunovich has high hopes. "Tiger sales could top $100 million in the first quarter of release, compared with $60 million for Panther," he said.

Merrill Lynch expects Apple to have 2.5 per cent of the global PC market by the end of this year, up from 2.1 per cent in the first quarter of this year, writes Forbes.