The US-headquartered Apple Computer company has further strengthened its grip on the digital music player market.

The nano, unveiled yesterday in San Francisco, is an even smaller version of the iconic, mega-selling iPod (21 million worldwide and counting) and is designed to replace the mini version.

Its pencil thin size belies its capacity for storing up to 1,000 songs or 25,000 photographs. A smaller capacity version can hold up to 500 songs and will cost as little as $199 (€159; £108).

Says Gene Munster, from financial analysts Piper Jaffrey: "Nobody is going to come out with anything as good as the nano in the next six months. Apple [will] have a lock on the market by then."

Apple ceo Steve Jobs also launched the much-anticipated iPod cell phone, developed with Motorola and dubbed the Rokr. The new gadget can store up to 100 songs and is promised to be the first in a series of phones with even more memory.

Users, however, will not be able to load the phone with music files over cellular networks. They must transfer songs from their computers, contrasting with popular over-the-air music purchases available in such countries as Japan.

Data sourced from BBC Online; additional content by WARC staff