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Monday, April 26, 2004, 09:00 am PT (12:00 pm ET)

Notes: Music announcements, NZ online store, new retail locations

Apple readies music-related announcements

According to at least one source, Apple is expected to make several music-related announcements this week. It is still unclear if the announcements will include any new product introductions, but the company has been hard at work on a major update to both iTunes and the iPod.

Meanwhile, channel inventory of 3rd generation iPods is noticeably lower than it has been in recent months. Shipments of players to Apple retail stores have also slowed, though most locations retained a sufficient supply of 15 and 20GB models at the end of last week. On average, stock of the lower-end pods appears healthier than the 40GB iPod.

Though purely based on speculation, sources said that given the success of the iPod and the fact that the company is having no problems selling the product, there would be less of a need to drain existing inventory to the same extent which it does with CPU units just prior to product introductions. However, Apple has been blowing out new and unopened 2nd generation 10 and 30GB iPods at its online store since last week.

Update: Apple has just announced that it will hold a "iTunes Music Store Anniversary Conference Call" on Wednesday, April 28, 2004, 8:30 a.m. PDT.

Apple launches New Zealand online store

Earlier today Apple and Renaissance quietly unveiled its Apple online store in New Zealand. And it appears that the company has kept its promise that the store would not act as a means of competition, but rather a conveient way for consumers to browse product offerings before ultimately arriving at local New Zealand resellers.

"Prices appear to be virtually identical to that of local resellers," one reader said while also noting that some New Zealand resellers offer free shipping and technical support. Both of these additional purchasing incentives appear absent from the new online store.

At least 4 new Apple retail locations surface

According to our friends at ifoAppleStore, over the weekend Apple's jobs database reflected at least four new and unannounced Apple retail store locations.

On Saturday, job listings appeared for Apple retail locations at the Stoneridge Mall in Pleasanton, California and at the Victoria Gardens location in Rancho Cucamonga, California.

Sunday reportedly revealed planned locations 'Christiana' in Wilmington, Delaware and 'Alderwood' in Lynnwood, Washington.

Interestingly, all four of these recent additions were no longer accessible from the Apple jobs website this morning.