iTunes New Zealand: Not this week, says GM

Apple New Zealand denies all knowledge of any impending launch of the iTunes music store on the local market, despite former Mount Roskill resident Russell Crowe telling Australian radio that Apple Australia is poised to launch its version of the store.

Computerworld understands Apple would incorporate any New Zealand iTunes store into its Australian counterpart and run them both as one unit, however general manager of Apple New Zealand, Steve Ford, says he knows nothing about any impending launch of iTunes New Zealand.

"I can't comment at all on the Australian situation but there's been nothing going on at this end." Apple New Zealand is an authorized distributor rather than an Apple-owned subsidiary.

Posters to Apple Talk Australia's website claim they have downloaded songs from the Apple iTunes Music Store and paid for them with Australian credit cards. Apple will only allow users to buy songs from their own countries, something which has lead to a lot of pent up demand in several countries around the world.

Australian media reports claim Crowe revealed the launch date inadvertently while discussing the price for songs on the Australian site. Apple declined to comment on rumor and speculation, however Australian media are also suggesting Apple has bought a large amount of advertising space on radio and in print scheduled to kick off today

The US iTunes store sells music for US$0.99 per song but Crowe is reported to have put the Australian price at about A$1.80, however the Sydney Morning Herald claims it has paid only A$1.69 for a song from the site. Apple Talk Australia demonstrated a deep link to the back-end of the site - visitors to www.itunes.com.au or its .nz equivalent are met with error messages.

iTunes has sold more than 300 million songs since its US launch and speculation is mounting that New Zealand will be the last English speaking country to get an iTunes store.

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