Apple Holiday Season May Be Its Best Yet

Matthew Kather, analyst with W.R. Hambrecht, didn't wait to crunch


's after-the-bell numbers before getting enthusiastic about the company.

"The company's firing on all cylinders here," he told CNBC, "so it's really not about how much upside is printed in this quarter."

Apple shares on Monday gained $2.75, or $1.61 percent, trading at $173.17 on the Nasdaq.

Specifically, Kather likes the performance of Apple's Mac franchise, which "looks like it gained about another half a percentage point of market share."

As impressed as he is about the company's recent past, he's even more upbeat about the future, with Apple's "strong product lineup entering the December quarter, which I think should be the best quarter in the company's history."

Kather admits that Apple's sensational iPhone has had some teething pains.

"There's a lot of unhappy people that have posted to blogs out there," he concedes, "but I don't think there's a real way to get at what that churn number is going to be, at least early on here, given the contractual nature of the agreements that everybody is signing up for."

He's also going to be watching "the iPod numbers in the December quarter -- will we have some cannibalization for the first time in the touch-screen versus the full-blown phone, and how [might we] be able to quantify or measure that?"