As Apple prepares to celebrate the first year of iTunes Music Store this week (April 28), The Guardian looks at the success of its iPod range and asks, "Is Apple set to become the new Sony?"

The Guardian (free registration required) reports that iPod sales exceed Mac sales, and have bolstered Apple's bottom-line with revenue growth of 28 per cent year-on-year, despite a decline in PC market share.

"iPod has replaced Walkman as the shorthand for a personal audio player, and the iPod mini looks set to extend the reach of digital music players," the report states.

"The mini was snapped up by almost as many women as men when it launched (in the US) in February."

Apple seems to have the crown – but Sony, which dismisses Apple's initiative as a "one-trick pony" – is preparing to move into the frame. The compay is preparing to launch its own hard-drive based music products and music service this summer.

The market is becoming more competitive – so how will Apple maintain dominance? "Having ventured once into the world of consumer electronics, Apple could well do it again," the report says

Moving into speculation, the report states: "There were rumours that a video version of the iPod was shown to analysts back in January 2003 but pulled, as Apple didn't feel that there was a large enough market for it."

Whatever its plans, The Guardian expects Apple to try to profit from its initial success in the consumer electronics market.

"The company has continually amazed the business world by delivering stunning products that have rejuvenated both the brand and its fortunes. Only a fool would bet against Apple boss Steve Jobs hiding something special up his sleeve," the report concludes.