Australian music lovers awoke optimistic that Apple would launch iTunes in Australia today - and their hopes were dashed on the water by San Francisco Bay.

A report in Australian newspaper The Age claimed: "Apple is expected tomorrow to announce the introduction of an Australian iTunes music store."

The launch was expected to coincide with Apple CEO Steve Jobs' keynote speech today at 9am (PST), or 5pm UK time. Australia would have become the 16th nation served by the store.

As is customary with the secretive company, Apple refused to comment, but the report adds: "It is believed the maker of the iPod digital music player has flown senior executives from California to Sydney for tomorrow's announcement."

The situation may change during the rest of the week.