Fresh rumours have surfaced that The Beatles could be close to signing a deal with Apple over the selling of their back catalogue on the iPod makers music download store, iTunes, as well as teaming up with the company to launch a branded iPod in the near future.

According the Fortune magazine; "Apple Computers is said to be angling to become the exclusive online music store for the Beatles for a limited window of time. Other music stores, such as Microsoft's MSN and Rhapsody, have courted the Beatles over the years to no avail, but it appears Apple is close to getting first dibs on the band's hits".

The Beatles have been planning to release their hits online for some time, however as yet, have yet to announce when or how.

The managing director of Apple Corps, owned Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Yoko Ono and George Harrison's estate, in April revealed that the entire back catalogue is being digitally re-mastered for release on the Internet.

Neil Aspinall made the comment in a statement to London's High Court while the two companies where battling it out for the right to use the Apple logo.

At the time he said: “It would be wrong to offer downloads of old masters when I am making new masters”.

Fortune magazine is reporting that "According to a music industry executive apprised of the talks, the parties were discussing how lengthy a window of exclusivity iTunes might get and how many tens of millions of dollars Jobs - who is said to be personally involved in the discussions - will commit to an advance for the band and marketing costs".

"Also being discussed is whether the band would be willing to take two steps at the same time and endorse the iPod by allowing its music to be used in a commercial. Another scenario making the rounds is the prospect of the Beatles following U2's example with a branded iPod. If the Beatles were in an iPod ad, that would be humongous", this executive said.

We will keep you posted.