Apple has "fundamentally" changed its sales process, the way it deals with both the channel, and how it delivers products to market, says Apple's executive VP of worldwide sales and operations, Tim Cook.

Cook told analysts: "The channel remains very important to us. Apple and the channel can win by leveraging each other's strengths.

"Of particular importance are VARs (Value Added Resellers) that are focused on music, as this is a new area for Apple, so we have put a lot of energy into joining with music VARs."

He added: "Apple now has over 1,250 VARs, most of them recruited in the past 12-18 months. This inaugural channel has been very important to our results so far and this will continue to be the case going forward."

Cook also revealed that "there are now 300 Apple-badged people in channel-partner stores worldwide," and that "last year these ASCs (Apple Solution Consultants) accounted for $0.5 billion of Apple's revenue, stores where our people are doing the selling".

He added: "Of the 300 ASCs, 75 are based in Japan, and slightly fewer in Europe."

Apple UK currently has a number of ASCs in place in PC World.

Cook also discussed a new way of selling to the pro-market: the Agent Programme – first announced in October. He said: "Many parts of the channel are fragile and find it difficult to get proper credit lines, so they come to us for support.

"We have decided to act as the back room, or infrastructure, for these companies, providing the logistics and supply chain while the channel does what it is good at – selling."

Cook also addressed iPod supply problems: "There is enormous demand for the iPod, and I'm confident the number we've rolled into our target on the supply side will be met."