April 21, 2003 9:28 AM PDT

Apple tunes up for music pitch

Apple Computer has scheduled a media event for April 28, at which the company may debut a new online music service that has been in the works.

An invitation to the event promises announcements that "will be music to your ears." The event could serve as a launching point for a new digital music service that Apple has been working on for some time. The company also may launch new iPods, replacing the current generation of the digital music player which has grown increasingly scarce on store shelves.

There has been much talk of Apple and music of late, including speculation that the company has been in talks with Vivendi Universal to buy Vivendi's music business. Last week, Apple issued a statement saying that it has not made an offer for any record companies, although the company did not address whether it has been in talks with any of the major record labels.

An Apple representative declined to comment further.

Needham analyst Charles Wolf said the event is likely to bring both new iPods and the music service.

"Apple's worst-kept secret has been its downloaded music service," said Wolf, who owns Apple shares and rates the company's stock a "hold."

If Apple does launch the music service, it will be the first legal download service that offers content from the major record labels and is available for the Macintosh. Apple has found itself excluded from the initial music and movie download services.

As for the iPod, the 5GB model has been out of stock for months, while other models have been growing increasingly scarce of late. Apple's online store has been listing a wait time of seven to 10 days for all iPod models, pushing their delivery date until after the scheduled April 28 event.

 

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