Apple begins 2004 at the cutting-edge of the emerging digital music industry. To mark this, Apple upped the capacity of its entry-level iPod from 10GB to 15GB – for the same £249 price tag, and expanded its iPod product offering.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs told an exultant keynote audience at Macworld Expo San Francisco that the company shipped 730,000 iPods in the just-passed quarter announced today that over two million iPods have been sold since it's in a quarter that includes the crucial Thanksgiving and Christmas shopping periods.

While final MP3 player market-share figures for December 2003 aren't yet available, the CEO claimed: "Figures for October and November show Apple with 31 per cent market share and 55 per cent of revenues – across the whole global MP3 player market, including those tiny Flash-based music players no-one ever uses."

Competition smashed Apple has also sold over 30 million tracks through its iTunes Music Store. "That's tens of millions of sales above the competition", Jobs said. "We have 70 per cent of the market – it feels great to get above five per cent," he quipped. The single biggest-buying iTunes customer in the US has spent an amazing $29,500 expanding his or her digital music collection, Jobs revealed.

Other iTunes facts: Apple has sold 50,000 audio books since October, 100,000 gift certificates, and now stocks 500,000 songs – "more than anyone else," Jobs claimed.

On Apple's involvement in music, Jobs became wistful and grave in discussing the success of its initiatives here: "We love music: we love it just like you do," he said.

He added: "By enabling music lovers to carry their entire music library with them at all times, iPod is clearly changing the way we enjoy our music, much the way the Sony Walkman did decades ago."