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Apple picks 15 June for iTunes launch?

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The launch date for the European version of Apple's iTunes Music Store (ITMS) has been narrowed down to 15 June.

Certainly the company is expected to make a "major" announcement on that day, if invites sent out today to national newspapers are anything to go by.

Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) kicks off on 28 June. It is expected to mark the announcement of new Mac hardware and the presentation of the next major release of Mac OS X, 'Tiger'. So it seems unlikely that the 15 June announcement centres on Apple's computing technology.

More likely, given the talk we've heard of a 14 June or 23 June ITMS launch, the mid-June announcement centres on Apple's music service. Late last month, Reuters claimed music industry sources had told it that Apple's licensing negotiations had reached the point where a mid-June ITMS launch was possible.

German newssite Heise Online notes that 15 June is the date for the German ITMS launch, suggesting that unlike Napster, Apple plans to roll-out the service across Europe - or at least in the continent's major markets.

It's also worth bearing in mind that, back in March, Apple admitted that worldwide shipments of its iPod Mini portable music player had been delayed. Apple pegged availability for some time in July, but it remains possible that Hitachi's attempts to boost production of its 1in, 4GB hard drive may also have allowed Apple to bring European availability ahead and allow it to launch the new player sooner. ®

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