Lot's of rivals have tried to offer an alternative, but the Apple iPod is still ruling the digital-music world. A research done by The NPD Group says that all the different versions of the Apple iPods together account for 92.1 percent of the Hard drive-based music player market. Last year Apple's share in this market was a bit lower; 82.2 percent.
Creative and Rio both hold respectively 3.7 percent and 3.2 percent of the market.
NPD analyst Stephen Baker attributed the results to a strong launch for new fourth-generation versions of the iPod, which arrived on the market just at the right time to dominate back-to-school buying.
"Back-to-school has turned out to be a very big season for music players," Baker said. "In my day, you had big speakers and a bunch of components you had to lug to your dorm room. Now it's a six-ounce device."
The iPod Mini, the smaller 5GB version of the player Apple introduced last year, continues to sell well, Baker said, but Apple faces credible competition there from new devices such as Rio's Carbon.
"The mini market is where we're likely to see a lot more competition," he said. "People buying 20GB music players probably have a good idea what they're going to use them for. The mini players are more of a casual market, and that's where you're likely to see competition based on pricing, form factor and compatibility with music stores."