Apple ditching DRM? 3G iTunes downloads?

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Looks like the gods at Apple have been listening. People have long complained about Apple’s DRM protection on music available on iTunes and the inability to download songs to the iPhone over 3G (I mean come on). That might change tomorrow.

It seems that Apple has cut a deal with music labels to remove DRM. This might come at a cost though. Songs will now supposedly be sold at variable prices with newer songs and hits selling above the usual 99¢ price and older songs selling for as low as 79¢.

This move could quite possibly could give people no reason to use other online music stores like eMusic, Amazon MP3 and Walmart any more. These stores boast catalogs of DRM-free tracks and with nothing differentiating them from the current top music retailer their sales may take a hit.

Some other sources apparently claim that Apple will be unveiling over-the-air iTunes purchases. This was thought to be restricted because of the high cost incurred by carriers. That would be another blow to alternative online retailers, because Apple would probably work really hard to make the iPhone client for iTunes super good, and then “accidentally” break the other apps with a software upgrade.

MacWorld’s Steve-less keynote is tomorrow, so stay tuned for our live coverage in the morning, and we’ll see what happens.

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