The hype surrounding the launch of Apple's iPhone is leading to a massive surge in interest in the Mac, according to a survey. Apple is emerging the clear winner during a "transformational shift in the consumer PC market", market research group ChangeWave says. Its findings appear to be confirmed by two other surveys.

The "transformational shift" line comes from a ChangeWave survey on PC buying habits. It showed that Apple's laptop market share has risen from 12 per cent to 17 per cent in June - an "unprecedented five-point shift", according to ChangeWave. Some 28 per cent of PC buyers also said they'd buy a Mac laptop in the 90 days following the survey, with 23 per cent plumping for a Mac desktop.

The results "serve as powerful evidence that the aforementioned 'halo effect' is indeed translating into real world Mac computer sales for Steve Jobs and company," says ChangeWave founder Tobin Smith.

Mac market share up, Dell down

ChangeWave's results are mirrored by two other research firms. NPD says that Apple's US laptop share is up 2.2 per cent from 15.4 per cent a year ago to 17.6 per cent now.

IDC also placed Apple third among consumer PC makers - the first time that's happened since 1991 according to Macworld. Dell takes the top slot with HP second; Acer and Gateway make up the rest of the top five.

However Dell's pole position may be untenable. ChangeWave's survey revealed a 4 per cent drop in Dell laptop sales (down from 28 per cent to 24 per cent) and a 5 per cent drop in desktop sales (from 35 per cent to 30 per cent). Dell also did badly in the future buying intentions results.

Only 31 per cent of PC buyers said they'd pick up a Dell desktop next time - a record low according to ChangeWave - while 29 per cent planned to buy a laptop. That last figure does show a 2 per cent rise, but again ChangeWave says the figure is also near an all-time low.

Apple tops customer satisfaction too

More depressing findings for Dell were revealed in ChangeWave's customer satisfaction survey. It placed the company last behind Lenovo, Gateway, HP and Toshiba with just 44 per cent of very satisfied owners. Apple topped the poll with 86 per cent - 27 per cent ahead of Toshiba.