UPDATE: Steve Jobs has confirmed in a press conference in New York the iTunes Europe store will launch on the 15 June.

According to The Times newspaper Apple is preparing to launch its iTunes service in Britain by the end of the month. The company is understood to have developed localised versions of the popular iTunes download service for Britain, France and Germany.

The launch is expected to coincide with the launch of Sony's Connect service, which is also launching this month.

The music download service while popular in America has yet to become a major force in the UK, however all that looks set to change with the launch of the legal version of Napster last month and these two new services this month.

Apple is thought to have chosen specific countries to launch the service rather than attempting the blanket approach of servicing Europe from one site due to copyright and licensing issues.

According to The Times, Apple refused to comment on the speculation.