Apple's iPod MP3 player is a year old today.

It was launched at at a special event in Cupertino, at which Apple CEO Steve Jobs claimed: "Apple has invented a whole new category of digital music player that lets you put your entire music collection in your pocket and listen to it wherever you go."

"Listening to music will never be the same again," he said.

On its UK launch at last year's MacExpo all available iPod stocks sold out before midday. Show attendee Dr David Coker commented on the product's design excellence: "The packaging's amazing. It makes it clear that this is no general consumer-class electrical product. iPod has the Apple Edge. It's so fast, I like so much about it".

The iPod's design has been recognized – its won awards worldwide – notably the UK's Design and Art Direction Gold Award and the Industrial Design Excellence Award in the US.

Reaction to the product's been positive and sustained. Analyst firm Jupiter Media Matrix remarked: ""Apple has engineered iPod to be everything its competition is not: easy to use, high-storage,, portable, lightweight, and durable – and its impeccable design looks as much like a fashion accessory as it does a technical device. Apple has succeeded on all counts, and consumers have noticed."

125,000 units were snapped up in its first six weeks on sale. Apple later released a version of the product for the Windows market.

Last week, Apple announced that iPod had seized 42 per cent of September's MP3 player market share in Japan, prompting Apple's chief financial officer Fred Anderson to confirm: "We're clearly very interested in gaining market share in the whole MP3 space."

Needham and Co. analyst Charles Wolf predicted success: “The revenue potential for Apple could be huge - up to a $1 billion revenue opportunity for the company".

Apple has published a page containing a collection of positive reactions to iPod, including rave reviews from the Wall Street Journal, Newsday, Time Magazine, The New York Times and Washington Post.

Electronics Design Chain is hosting an interesting report on the product examining the products development.

It claims iPod was partially developed with help from a company called PortalPlayer. This reflects a move to outsourcing common among today's consumer electronics companies.

David Carey, president of consumer electronics technology company Portelligent said: "First and foremost, the product was elegantly designed in classic Apple fashion. They did product design from the outside in.

"They had a vision of what the player should be and what it should look like. Subsequent design parameters were dictated by its appearance and form factor", he claimed.

Apple has introduced new features to the product over the year. It now offers Calendars, a Contacts list (that synchs up with other devices over FireWire using iSynch, a clock a built in graphics equaliser and even support for's spoken word content.

Inventive users have developed solutions that add new features to the product – indeed, its even generated its own clutch of iPod-dedicated Web sites.

Three capacities (5-, 10-, and 20GB) of the product are available with prices starting at £259.