Mac computer users will soon be able to get their hands on the latest operating system from Apple ( AAPL), which analysts say could boost the company's computer sales.

Apple said on Tuesday that Mac OS X Leopard will go on sale Oct. 26. Apple had delayed Leopard's release by several months so that engineers could support the iPhone's development and keep its launch on track.

Some analysts are looking to Leopard's release as one of this year's last catalysts that would push Apple's stock higher. The company's share price has swelled in 2007 on enthusiasm for the iPhone and Apple's updated lines of iPods and iMac desktop computers. A new operating system, some say, may fuel sales of Macs.

A more important factor for Mac sales will be holiday computer purchases. A survey released on Tuesday by the Consumer Electronics Association found computers atop the list of holiday wishes, leading other electronics like flat-screen televisions, as well as sentimental wishes like the desires for happiness and world peace.

Many investors say Mac sales will be more important for Apple's finances than sales of iPhones or iPods. Apple currently holds about 5% of the U.S. computer market, behind leaders Hewlett-Packard ( HPQ) and Dell ( DELL).

Investors are hoping that Apple's market share will increase as the buzz surrounding iPhones and iPods draws consumers to Macs when they go shopping for computers.

Apple shares were recently trading up 27 cents, or 0.2%, to $167.25.