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Steve Jobs even richer: one billion iTunes sold

Apple's billionth iTune was sold last night, winning a lucky American teenager a bunch of Apple gear including ten iPods and a $10,000 iTunes gift certificate.

Naysayers crusading for an analogue revival were left eating humble pie last night as the billionth iTune was sold online. No small feat in itself, but it's only one of the achievements Apple is set to celebrate this year. iTunes now accounts for 70 per cent of the music bought online in the UK and downloads will be included in the official singles chart later in the year.

Alex Ostrovsky was the Michigan teenager who bought the billionth iTune with Coldplay's Speed of Sound. If we were a broadsheet newspaper, we'd draw lots of clever parallels between the name of Coldplay's soft-rock classic and the stunning success of iTunes, but we're a gadget site, so we'll just look on enviously as this American teenager picks up an iMac, a $10,000 iTunes Gift Certificate and ten iPods. Lucky sod.

Meanwhile, at the Bristol Sound and Vision show we watched a number of British leading lights speculate that Apple may be the only winner in the high-definition war. John Bamford from Meridian (high-end audio technicians with fingers in all the HD technologies) warned that the battle between Blu-Ray and HD DVD would let Apple move in for the kill. Other leaders in the British AV world, including Arcam's Charlie Brennan and Meridian's Bob Stuart, shared Bamford's fears that two rival formats would cause consumers to keep their wallets closed.

There's strong speculation that Apple is planning some sort of media centre. The fact that it has an existing relationship with Hollywood and the ability to distribute HD content through its movie trailers site only adds more weight to the speculation. If Apple could unite the Hollywood studios for online distribution as it did the music industry, we could be looking at a winner for high definition that we never even saw coming. Will these technological Nostradamus-style prophecies ring true in 2006? Keep visiting CNET.co.uk to find out. -GC