The long-awaited release of the Beatles' back catalogue to a digital format, to be available as online downloads, is looking unlikely to be available this year.

Reuters is reporting that in an interview last week Olivia Harrison, George Harrison's widow dashed hopes that the Fab Four's tunes would be on iTunes any time soon.

According to the report when asked about the availability of the music online Olivia Harrison replied: "Oh God, yeah. Hope so ... I don't know if it would be the end of this year, but it would be nice. Imminent, let's put it that way."

The historic reason that the Beatles' back catalogue was never available online was due to a legal dispute between Apple Inc. and Apple Corps which was finally settled in February this year.

Apparently the recent delays are due to firstly, the music being digitally re-mastered, and secondly, because the accompanying artwork is getting a revamp.