Apple CEO Steve Jobs has defended the company's move to release an MP3 player, the iPod, and not a handheld device.

"People have more of an affinity with music than with organisers," Jobs told Fortune magazine. "It's in our DNA. Everybody loves it."

Jobs added: "I won't lie. We thought about that a lot. But I asked myself, how useful are they, really? How many people at a given meeting show up with one?

"Whether I was here or at Disney or at Pixar, the percentage peaked about a year ago at 50 per cent, and has dropped to less than 10 per cent."

Unique position Jobs stressed that Apple was in a unique position to create the iPod: "We do great industrial design and miniaturization, just like Sony. But Apple's also known for legendary ease of use, which comes from our software capabilities. There is not another company I know of with all those assets. So we decided to go for it."

He remarked that the iPod’s inability to transfer music to other iPods or computers is a method of protecting music and to an extent, people from themselves: "Apple is one of the few companies in our industry that owns any intellectual property. We know how expensive it is to develop it and so we really believe in protecting it, just like the record companies and artists.

"We believe most people are honest and want to pay for their music. We just don't want to make it too easy for them not to be."

The £297 (ex VAT) iPod is set for its UK debut at this month’s MacExpo, held from 22 to 24 November at London's Business Design Centre, in Islington.