The media thought they needed David Beckham sporting the famous white headphones to hype the story, but Apple doesn't care who you are - there are now 6.2million iPods in the world, enough to populate a small city in anyone's country, and with satisfied users coming back to upgrade, the number can only rise - that's good news for a company which had a rocky ride before striking up the iMac and then carrying on as if nothing had happened - and reaching beyond its core of religiously devoted fans, as there are many more users to reach, and it represents a jump in sales of more than six hundred percent, contributing USD 320 million out of USD3.4 billion of total revenue. Not only is the iPod a lifestyle statement - or another one after the iMac of three years back - but it's also accounting for nearly ten per cent of the whole company's profits. 1.2 million Mac computers also helped the finances in the last quarter and were also not to be sniffed at from a single manufacturer which, until Intel arrives anyway, has closed off the coveted parts of the standard that makes up the Mac.

It just shows the benefit of getting a package right and pioneering in the market with it - since now it must seem almost impossible to catch and beat Apple for hard disk-based music players. That won't stop a whole army of companies from trying, most notably Sony, who won't want any more thunder stolen from its Walkman brand.