Apple Said Eyeing September Digital Album Debut

Possible new products include iPods, and a project to revive the record album for the digital age.

Apple is believed to be planning a September keynote event to launch new iPods and other music products.

The event will take place during the week of September 8, according to reports on All Things Digital, a tech-focused site of The Wall Street Journal, which quoted music industry sources who were tipped off by Apple. In previous years, Apple released new iPod products the week after Labor Day, including the iPod Touch in 2007 and a refresh of the iPod Nano last year.

One possible announcement: Digital albums. Last month, the Financial Times reported that Apple was in talks with the four largest record labels, EMI, Sony Music, Warner Music and Universal Music Group, to sell albums through the iTunes store. The albums would include video clips and additional material such as photos, lyric sheets, and liner notes. People would be able to click through the material while listening to songs.

Such a deal would be attractive to record companies, because it could spur sales of higher-margin album sales, which have plummeted as a result of people preferring to buy only individual songs online.

The new music packages would be particularly useful on Apple's long-rumored tablet PC, which the Financial Times reported would be launched in early September. Other news agencies, however, have said the tablet PC, with a 10-inch diagonal touch-screen, is likely to be introduced later in the year.

Any future Apple event raises the question whether Steve Jobs, co-founder and chief executive, would return as company pitchman. Jobs was on medical leave the first six months of the year to recover from a "hormonal imbalance." The CEO later acknowledged that he underwent a liver transplant in the spring.

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