These latest developments indicate that Apple has only a short period of time to react before a barrage of marketing and publicity surrounds Microsofts new device.
In its defense, Apple told analysts in an earnings call the night of July 19 that it "wasnt standing still."
Redmonds moves to counter the success of the iPod have also resulted in several code names, including Argo, Pyxis, Zune and Alexandria.
Although solid information as to the actual product details is scarce, various media sources have compiled some information from sources inside and outside Microsoft.
The entire initiative falls under the name "Project Argo," and insiders believe Microsoft is working on at least two portable players.
Zune, which first surfaced in June, is believed to be the iPod-like device that would include wireless connectivity in a design very reminiscent of the Apple iPod.
Sources have confirmed to BetaNews that a second player exists, known by the code name Pyxis.
While details are scant on the players features, it is being billed as a competitor to the iPod Nano in both size and functionality, with the addition of video support.