Investing in Apple is no different to investing in the company's CEO Steve Jobs, a top venture capitalist believes.

Stewart Alsop, of New Enterprise Associates, said: "Investing in Apple is still investing in Steve Jobs. He's got this ability to perceive how people want to do things that is an absolute proprietary advantage.

"The company stands at the enchanted juncture of hot products and an even hotter corporate image in a market sector where personal computers are increasingly viewed as a commodity. Apple is also benefiting from a rejuvenated association with its co-founder and chief executive Steve Jobs.

According to the International Herald Tribune report, analysts believe Apple needs to stay buoyant if it is going to maintain its industry presence and its share price – which recently hit a 52 week high of $29, beating Wall Street predictions.

Merrill Lynch's Richard Farmer says: "Apple's unit share of the PC market has been in steady decline for the past decade, and is now hovering around 2 per cent. The core PC business will be the dominant concern with regard to Apple's near-term fortunes."

Alsop thinks Apple may benefit from industry trends: "The marketplace for digital devices is just exploding. As the Internet and the World Wide Web become a ubiquitous presence, consumers really don't care what computer they use. This will loosen up the pressure on Apple to be a leader in the traditional PC market.

"As long as Apple can maintain sufficient functionality for its systems and continue to bring out products like iLife, it might finally become the industry leader it has always aspired to be."

But Apple will still need to "persuade millions of PC users to jump into its camp and stay there". Despite its desire in the past to maintain its proprietary systems and software, Apple seems to have accepted that it needs to address this market; producing the iPod and iTunes for Windows users, and recently forging relationships with HP.

Needham Co. analyst Charles Wolf said: "Apple is undergoing a change in religion. Instead of addressing 5 per cent of the market, Apple has positioned itself to address 100 per cent." Wolf estimates that 90 per cent of all iPod units shipped are being purchased by Windows users.

Apple is also putting itself in front of consumers with the roll-out of its Apple Stores – a move that the International Herald Tribune describes as "most risky". Wolf said: "The stores are crucial to Apple's core challenge of persuading Windows users to embrace a Mac lifestyle. I think as much as anything else Apple needed these stores to survive and differentiate themselves."