Forbes, a site not usually known for rumour-mongering, believes Apple and U2 will announce special customized U2 iPods next week.

The report cites "sources close to the group", who claim the U2 iPods will ship with the band's new album, 'How to dismantle a nuclear bomb' preinstalled. The iPods will reportedly be black, and will be made available the same week as the album ships, November 23 in the US. The deal will reportedly be announced next week.

In an interesting aside, U2 are signed to Interscope Records, itself an imprint of the Universal Music Group. In April 2003, the LA Times reported Apple CEO Steve Jobs to have been involved in negotiation to buy the label. This didn't happen.

Returning to the Apple/U2 deal. Forbes believes the customized iPods to be part of a "larger agreement" between the band and Apple. Apple also wins exclusive rights to sell the album through iTunes Music Store.

Rumours also persist of a new colour screen iPod that's in development.