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Thursday, February 23, 2006, 09:00 am PT (12:00 pm ET)

Briefly: iTunes 1B songs sold; iPods sales via iTMS; Mac mini

iTunes: 1 billion served

Apple's iTunes Music Store today surpassed the 1 billion songs mark, a major milestone for sales of digital music tracks on the Internet.

The iTunes Music Store sold its billionth song at just after 12:30 a.m., according to MacNN — less than three years since Apple first introduced the store in April of 2003.

Earlier this month, the company launched a billion song promo, promising the lucky buyer of the 1 billionth song a 20-inch iMac, 10 60GB iPods, a $10,000 iTunes Gift Card as well as a full scholarship to a world-renowned music school.

Although Apple has not yet posted winner details, it celebrated with a note on its Web site: "To every iTunes Music Store customer, thanks a billion. 1 billion songs have been downloaded from the iTunes Music Store."

Apple selling iPods via iTunes Music Store

Meanwhile, a couple of tipsters have pointed out that Apple is using its ubiquitous iTunes Music Store to leverage sales of iPod digital music players.

It's now possible to purchase any one of the company's iPod models from within the iTunes application.

"Don't have an iPod? Get one here," reads a graphic on the main iTunes storefront. Instead of referring customers to Apple's online store, it allows them to complete iPod purchases without a Web browser or ever leaving the iTunes application.

Production of PowerPC Mac mini halted?

Something is definitely up with the Mac mini. Both sources and bloggers have noted that Apple is no longer accepting large orders of the current PowerPC-based Mac mini. The company is still offering individual sales, however. This would suggest that it has halted production of the model in favor of new models.

Sources recently said a new Intel-based Mac mini was very close to hitting the manufacturing lines and that Apple may be preparing to announce the machines soon.