Scare stories of violent crime have inspired many iPod users to ditch their easy-to-spot white Apple headphones in favour of more urban alternatives, a Macworld Online poll reveals.

However, most iPod owners don't travel in disguise, preferring to employ those conspicuous white earbuds when on the move.

A strong sample group of 2,068 online voters responded to the poll question, "How safe is your iPod?".

The voting group revealed that most - but by no means all - iPod owners stick with their white headphones: 1,178 people (57 per cent) do this; though 716 voters (35 per cent) revealed they wear non-iPod headphones.

Scare stories have forced some tender-hearted iPod owners to leave their music player at home - 81 people never take their iPod outside.

Sad to say, the poll also revealed that 93 voters have already had their music player nicked.

Health and safety

Commenting on the poll in Macworld's busy Forums, one reader wrote: "We shouldn't get paranoid but we have to consider this: Showing off your iPod could be like like walking around with a wad of bank notes, soon or later you may end up getting mugged."

Other readers are more sanguine, considering the risk to be over-rated. Jaded wrote: "These stories have been about since the iPod was first introduced. I'll bet there are far more muggings for mobiles phones, rings, chains, wallets and watches than there are for iPods - yet we never hear of those!"

Protection counts, Jaded advised: "My lad has just got (an iPod). I had it engraved with name and postcode, so if if is lost it has good identification on it."

Froggy, who tries to keep his iPod hidden also owns an iPod shuffle, which he uses in London to prevent his main iPod being stolen: "I feel much safer with a shuffle in London," he said.

No use?

Apple's music player may be a perfect product, but its earphones aren't popular with everyone - and not from fear of sudden street crime.

"I use black Sony Headphones but only because the Apple ones hurt my ears," one reader wrote.

Another reader was asked to get new headphones, "because the Apple one's are rubbish", he said.

How far should Apple evolve into the mobile phone market? Vote in this week's poll and let us know your thoughts in the forum.