The Apple iPod is currently the undisputed leading product in the global MP3 player market. This competitive advantage is due to the design, high functionality, and perhaps most importantly, the ‘cool factor’ which Apple has managed to obtain with its products. This study explores if owning an iPod (as opposed to another brand of MP3 player) makes a difference in the perception of general life satisfaction. Using Diener et al.'s generic satisfaction with life scale (SWLS) to measure the dependent variable life satisfaction, a model with the key concepts usage, benefits, peer influence, design, iPod phenomenon, and iPod bubble has been developed and tested in a variety of ways, including regression analysis. The sample consisted of a multinational sample of 240+ young adults, aged 18–35 years. The demographic profiles of iPod and non-iPod owners were very similar, but for iPod owners, 23 per cent of the variance in overall life satisfaction is explained by the key concepts used in this research. Key influencing variables for iPod owners are peer influence and design. For non-iPod owners, the amount of variance explained by the independent variables was negligible. iPod owners also considered their MP3 players to be much ‘cooler’ than did non-iPod owners. This article considers the managerial implications of these findings for Apple and for competing brands. The social implications of these findings and their significance are also discussed, and several potential areas for further research are highlighted. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.