“Apple Computer could make some big gains in the education market during the back-to-school shopping season this year,” Patrick Seitz reports for Investor’s Business Daily. “A new survey by TechnoMetrica Market Intelligence shows a big jump in consumer interest in buying Apple’s Macintosh computers, especially desktop models.”

“The same survey shows PC giant Dell losing ground among likely PC buyers. Meanwhile, rival Hewlett-Packard is showing continued strength among consumers heading into the fall shopping season. Among likely PC buyers in the next six months, Apple tied with Hewlett-Packard for the No. 2 brand overall. Both were the brand choice of 11% of prospective buyers in the early June poll by TechnoMetrica,” Seitz reports. “Dell was No. 1 with 41%. But that’s down from 48% in May and 55% in April.”

“Apple’s bet on Intel processors for its Macintosh computers appears to be paying dividends, analysts say,” Seitz reports. “Among those saying it’s likely they’ll buy a new desktop PC in the next six months, Apple was the No. 2 preferred brand, with 16%. That’s the highest number for Apple since TechnoMetrica began collecting purchase-intent data more than two years ago. In May, 6% of likely desktop PC buyers said they would choose Apple.”

“Apple’s recent rise in popularity can be attributed in part to a “rub-off effect” from its market-leading iPod music players, says Constantine Kambanis, an analyst at TechnoMetrica. ‘The Apple brand — thanks to the iPod — has gotten far more exposure among average consumers, who are thus more likely to consider other Apple products,’ he said. Survey respondents say positive word of mouth has helped sell Apple’s Macs as well,” Seitz reports.

“Apple has been heavily promoting its Intel-based computers lately, including its iMac desktop computers and MacBook laptops… College students who buy any Mac computer can get a free iPod Nano music player with a mail-in rebate as part of a back-to-school promotion that runs through Sept. 16,” Seitz reports.

“While Apple has seen its popularity rise, Dell has taken a steep slide among consumers in recent months. Among likely buyers of desktop PCs in June, 39% said they preferred to get a Dell. That’s down from 51% in May and 60% in April. Among likely buyers of laptop computers, Dell fared only slightly better. Its computers were the choice of 42% of respondents in June, down from 48% in May and 54% in April. Still, in last month’s poll Dell was the No. 1 choice in laptops, followed by HP with 14% and Apple with 7% of respondents,” Seitz reports. “TechnoMetrica has been tracking the home computer market since April 2002. The research firm surveys more than 900 U.S. adults in random phone interviews each month.”

Full article, with a nice graph showing how Dell, HP and Apple have fared in the survey over the past year, here.

MacDailyNews Take: The proof mounts. We sure hope that flash we just saw was finally the dawn of the personal computer renaissance. Sheesh, better late than never, huh?!

As we wrote back on April 13th: While we’re not a research firm by any stretch, we do have our own checks and are able to take some measure of the pulse of what’s going on in the Mac world. Our checks indicate that Mac sales (MacBook Pro, iMac, Mac mini) have picked up significantly since the Boot Camp debut and corresponding press coverage. The information we are seeing allows us to confidently state that… the ability to run their Windows “insecurty blanket” on Macs is causing people to buy Macs. The idea of buying one machine and getting both OS worlds is very appealing, it seems. Once they try Mac OS X, what usually happens will happen with them, too. More and more Mac OS X use with less and less Windows use.

[UPDATED: 8/6, 11:02pm EDT: Fixed truncated link.]

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