"preloaded with her entire music catalog."
Wow. At first glance, this sounds exactly like the U2 Edition iPod, but with one VERY interesting difference (assuming that it's true)--this time, the music would be PRELOADED on the iPod in question.
This raises two interesting questions--one legal, one technical:
--it was my understanding that until the Apple/Apple Corp/Beatles debacle is settled, one of the things which Apple is NOT allowed to do is to sell music in a PHYSICAL MEDIUM--in other words, they can sell the iPod, and they can sell digital downloads, but they aren't allowed to sell music CDs. The U2 edition cleverly sidestepped this issue by including a *coupon* for the music, which was then downloaded off the iTMS (thus avoiding the sale of "music in a physical medium"). By preinstalling Madonna's music, wouldn't this be violating that aspect of the agreement? They're already pushing their luck awfully hard, as the iTMS is already on the verge of being a label in its' own right.
--even if it's all kosher to do so, how is the preloaded music supposed to be identified with/connected with the iPod's owner? When you use the U2 coupon, the music is downloaded from the iTMS with the same FairPlay DRM info attached to it as any other iTMS song--including the accountholder's name, etc. If the music is preloaded, it would have to be (gasp!) DRM-Free (or, at least, with minimal DRM). Since the iPod is (officially) one-way only--the music is not supposed to be able to go from the iPod back onto the computer--how are buyers supposed to transfer it? There are dozens of 3rd-party workaround utilities to do this, but Apple can't include any of them, I don't think.
So, again, assuming that the pre-loaded music angle is correct, it sounds like this means any or all of the following will be announced:
--Apple has settled favorable with Apple Corp, and is now completely free to sell music any way they see fit with no legal challenges
--Madonna has, amazingly, agreed to include DRM-less copies of her ENTIRE LIBRARY to be included with the iPod; and/or
--Apple has arranged to allow for *official* 2-way music syncing between iPods and computers.
If any or all of the above three are correct, it would be a major piece of news, I would think.