With Apple and U2 preparing to make major announcements later today, pre-launch anticipation of the news continues unabated.

Analysts at Merrill Lynch yesterday predicted Apple will introduce two new model iPods "by the first half of 2005". They anticipate a flash memory-based iPod, and a photo iPod. The analysts maintain a buy rating on Apple stock, with a $49 stock price target.

MacMinute meanwhile speculates that Apple may introduce iTunes Music Store services into more countries. The company has said it will launch a trans-European store this month. MacMinute readers in Canada, Australia, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand, The Netherlands and Switzerland have all reported changes in the way iTunes behaves when they visit the store.