According to the latest research, Apple Computer's ubiquitous portable-media device, the iPod, garnered healthy market-share in August, though growth was slightly slower than in July.

Sales of iPod's in the United States saw a 19 percent year-over-year increase last month, market analysis firm NPD found. The numbers represent a decrease from the 24 percent rate observed in June, and 22 percent growth in July.

Last week's release of next generation iPod-Nano and iPod-Shuffle lines may help to off-set the slowdown seen this month, some analysts contend. With new competitive pricing and industry standard features, many experts believe Apple will be able to maintain its lead over rivals.

We think the improvements to the iPod line, Merril Lynch's Richard Farmer tells clients, though incremental, are enough to keep Apple's devices ahead of competitors in feature-adjusted price/performance in the intermediate term.

The timing of the new release may work in Apple's favor as well. Though the current iPod generation may be experiencing slower rates of growth, Apple's new line-up comes in time for the holiday season - a critical time for retailers.

Apple's revamp of the iTunes/iPod lineup is very timely, commented Michael Lew of Think Equity Research. This refreshed lineup should reinvigorate interest in Apple's digital lifestyle ecosystem and drive increased traffic to Apple's retail stores and Internet store.

The Cupertino Calif.-based Apple company will face strong competition this holiday season, however, with rival Sandisk offering new models of its popular media-players, as well as the arrival of Microsoft's highly anticipated Zune Player.