Apple engineers have been working with counterparts from Toast-publisher Roxio to revise iTunes, according to Macworld sources.

The revision will offer burning support to some "popular" external CD-R/RW drives. At the iTunes launch during January's Macworld Expo in San Francisco, Apple CEO Steve Jobs promised third-party support in "90 days".

A source close to both companies warned Macworld that Toast users installing iTunes 1.1 could expect software conflicts. Only one application can control a CD-R/RW drive. When two or more applications - Toast, iTunes or Discribe - are installed, the applications will not work due to an extensions conflict.

Fix delivery Inside reports claim a solution, built by Toast creator Markus Fest, exists. It is software-based, and was delivered to Apple in January 2001. Roxio chose to develop the fix in order to avoid the hassle and expense of providing technical support to Toast users who might install the forthcoming revision of iTunes.

Apple has now dropped the fix from the current beta of iTunes' code, and this may mean that Toast users installing it could face extensions conflicts, and be unable to burn CDs.

Apple has not yet announced that it is reworking iTunes, or Disc Burner, and it is possible that Fest's fix could be reinserted into the product prior to its release.

Toast patch If there is a problem when Apple releases the application, Roxio will release a free patch that will repair the problem. However, the company warns Toast users to expect a delay between iTunes 1.1 and the appearance of the patch.

It remains possible that Apple will defy speculation either by releasing iTunes with the fix installed, or by releasing it at a later date.

As Macworld Expo Tokyo approaches, speculation is mounting that Apple will announce a new iMac. Rumours claim the iMac is likely to boast a built-in CD-RW, and to ship with the updated version of iTunes.