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) -- The message behind



cryptic message on its home page Monday

appears to have been decoded.

According to

a report from The Wall Street Journal

, Steve Jobs' tech juggernaut will announce a long-pursued deal to secure the digital rights to the music catalogue of The Beatles for its iTunes music service on Tuesday morning.

Apple is touting an announcement set for 10 a.m. ET on its Web site, proclaiming "Tomorrow is just another day. That you'll never forget." above a series of clocks representing the local times of the announcement in California, London, New York and Tokyo. Much of speculation has been about a possible cloud version of iTunes, and that's still a possibility, but the reported Beatles' deal would seem big enough to merit the company's mysterious ploy.

The stock had a fairly routine day on Monday, falling 99 cents to $307.04 on volume of 14.4 million, less than the issue's three-month trailing daily average of 18.9 million. Year-to-date the shares have gained more than 46%, despite pulling back more than 4% after running to a 52-week high of $321.30 last week.

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report, which cites people familiar with the situation, says the deal follows days of talks between Apple and representatives of the Beatles and EMI Group, their record label.

The article doesn't include any financial terms for the deal, and it includes a disclaimer that Apple could still change its mind at the last minute, bringing to mind the title of another famous Beatles song: "Tomorrow Never Knows."


Written by Michael Baron in New York.

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Michael Baron


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