The successs of the iPod has largely been responsible for the rebirth of Apple. When Apple launched the Shuffle they took control of the entire portable music player market, as they now have iPods available at all price points — from $99 for the basic Shuffle to $449 if you want the photo iPod with maximum storage.

One topic that hasn’t received much attention is Apple’s iPod accessory line which I’m convinced delivers vastly higher profit margins than the iPods themselves.

When the Shuffle was launched earlier this year, the acccessories weren’t available — and just went on sale a few weeks ago. I can’t say for sure whether this delay in releasing the accessories was intended to create demand, but it did so very effectively.

My girlfriend bought a Shuffle back in February and was annoyed that there wasn’t an armband so she could take it running. Apple had a nice looking one listed on their site, but said it wouldn’t be released for 8-12 weeks.

!/timages/i/4-22-05-ipodarmband.jpg!

Last week we went to the Apple store to buy the shuffle armband and couldn’t believe that this simple piece of neoprene was priced at $29 — 1/3rd the price of the actual shuffle. After I got over the sticker shock, I was even more surprised that the store had sold out, and the Palo Alto store only had 2 left in stock.

If Apple can continue to create killer products like the iPod and build strong demand for their own branded, cheaply made accessories — they will continue to build loyal, paying customers – no matter what the price point.