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Apple's original iPod more than sum of parts

Apple's iPod is the result of 451 components combined with innovative design.

Amid the relentless iPhone hype it's sometimes easy to forget the humble, non-phoney, original iPod . While it's almost certain that sales of the player will be cannibalised to some extent by the newcomer, it's worth looking at how exactly Apple's money-spinner comes into the world.

The New York Times reports on research into the iPod's origins from the University of California that comes to some surprising conclusions about who actually makes it. Clue - it's not entirely an American product.

Although assigning a country of origin to a component is complicated in the global era, the study's authors conclude that almost a quarter of a 30GB iPod's value lies in the Japanese hard drive from Toshiba.

Who makes what?

Breaking this down further to account for the fact that Toshiba in turn outsources hardware production leads to a very complex picture - and that's just for one of 451 components.

Ultimately, taking parts, labour and all other factors into account, the researchers conclude that the real value of an iPod is in its conception and design.

As the NYT piece says: "Those clever folks at Apple figured out how to combine 451 mostly generic parts into a valuable product. They may not make the iPod, but they created it. In the end, that's what really matters."