iPod 'halo effect' boosting Apple's hardware sales

Market research has picked up a small but significant trend that could be very good news for Cupertino

It seems the popularity of the iPod could well be boosting Apple's financials in unexpected ways.

According to a survey of iPod users by financial analyst firm Piper Jaffray, Macs are now basking in the reflected glory from the iPod, with a percentage of those owning the music player saying they have already or are intending to ditch their PC for a Mac.

The research found that 6 percent of iPod users had made the switch and another 7 percent said they were planning to dump their old PC desktop for an Apple machine.

Gene Munster, Piper Jaffray senior research analyst, said the iPod halo effect will make a difference to Apple for a while to come. "We're in the very early innings of a multi-year trend," he said.

Among the factors influencing the ex-PC crowd were ease-of-use, the focus on entertainment and the perception of better security.

The switchers, according to Munster, tended to be people who weren't necessarily techie types.

"A lot of people, with all due respect, don't understand the technology... they're people with money, not tech people," he said.

While Apple might see a healthy period ahead, to turn it into long term gain the company has to keep setting the design trends, according to the analysts. "They got to keep that 'cool factor' going," said Munster. "If they don’t, they're in trouble."

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