Apple remains the dominant force in the market for digital music players, though competition is intensifying.

Recent NPD Group data for February 2005 shows Apple continuing to account for 89.3 per cent of hard drive based players sold in the US retail market and grabbing 45 per cent of all flash-based players.

The Street reports: "They had a strong February," says Stephen Baker, a hardware analyst with NPD Group. "I expect them to have a pretty strong March, too."

Analysts remain in verdict on whether Apple's iPod-driven success will translate into Mac hardware sales.

"I'm hoping that it will develop that kind of momentum. They've got to sell more Macs," a fund manager told The Street.

With a 3 per cent market share Apple saw $4.9 billion in sales in fiscal 2004. A simple 1 per cent on top of that 3 per cent would translate into "billions" to Apple's revenues, the analysts said.