Apple's mini store strategy could be key to boosting Apple's PC market share.

Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster told Business 2.0: "In markets with a proven appetite for Apple products, the minis are a less expensive way to saturate the territory. In second-tier markets, they're a low-risk way to test consumer interest in pricier offerings."

The new stores are half the size of Apple's smallest stores to date. The company hopes to deploy the stores in locations its previous retail outlets wouldn't fit. Munster says the stores are likely to carry a full selection of products but push impulse items such as iPods and WiFi.

He added: "They're going after people who aren't looking for an Apple experience."

The mini stores will not feature a grand staircase or theatre, and display space will be limited. But they will feature a "genius bar" – because Apple has found that 30 per cent of genius bar visitors end up making a purchase the same day according to the report.

Between January and June Apple's share of the PC market rose for the first time in six years, from 2 to 2.2 per cent, according to market-research firm IDC. For the quarter that ended in June, Apple's stores accounted for 13 per cent of total sales, up from 9 per cent a year earlier.