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Apple Releases iTunes 7.7 and Apple TV 2.1 iPhone Applications

Only hours after Apple announced that the App Store will go live by Friday morning, the company updated its iTunes software to version 7.7. The updated media jukebox delivers support for the iPhone 3G, the iPhone 2.0 firmware update, downloading and syncing applications from the App Store for the iPhone/iPod touch, remote control of iTunes content playback using Apple’s free Remote application for iPhone/iPod touch and support for the new MobileMe cloud service.

The updated software is offered by Apple as a free download for Mac and PC. The iPhone 2.0 software is scheduled to appear in iTunes Friday morning. Along iTunes, Apple also quietly released Apple TV 2.1. The update enhances the set-top streaming media device with support for the remote application and Mobile Me service.

The biggest news in iTunes 7.7 is the ability to access the App Store using iTunes interface, available by clicking on the iTunes Store section in the iTunes application. Applications are categorized in the categories Business, Education, Entertainment, Finance, Games, Healthcare & Fitness, Lifestyle, Music, Navigation, News, Photography, Productivity, Reference, Social Networking, Sports, Travel, Utilities and Weather.

When you purchase or download a free application using iTunes, it will be stored locally in your iTunes library. Individual or all applications from your library can then be side-loaded to your iPhone. However, a native App Store application will also arrive as an integral part of the iPhone 2.0 firmware update. It will allow users to wirelessly browse, download and install applications directly from their handset, using the cellular or a Wi-Fi connection.