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Thursday, June 26, 2008, 09:25 pm PT (12:25 am ET)

iTunes 7.7 reveals iTunes Remote app for iPhone and iPod

Tucked away in Apple's pre-release version of iTunes 7.7 is word that the iPhone and iPod touch will soon act as remote controls for nearby computers. Also, Apple is now accepting submissions to the App Store.

A reference in the late beta version of iTunes available with iPhone SDK Beta 8 and discovered by Mac Rumors directly points to a new Apple-made program that will navigate tracks on Macs and Windows PCs from any of Apple's current handhelds.

"Use the new Remote application for iPhone or iPod touch to control iTunes playback from anywhere in your home — a free download from the App Store," it reads.

While the depth of control offered by the app is still very much unknown, the virtually confirmed existence of such an app fulfills a longstanding desire at Apple to use its touchscreen devices as makeshift remote controls. A patent originally filed as early as December 2005 hinted at plans for a wireless iTunes remote that would collect track data from a nearby computer and give users more control than just the pause, skip, and volume controls from most remotes, including Apple's own white stick remote bundled with some Macs.

A remote control function has also been hidden in recent iPhone betas but at the time didn't provide enough evidence of its ultimate function.

Beyond the new remote functionality, iTunes 7.7 is also known to add an Applications tab to let users specify loading only certain software on the phone, and will be necessary for both iPhone 3G and the MobileMe sync service.

Apple has simultaneously begun accepting submissions of programs from members of its iPhone Development Program that are ready to post their content to the App Store, ensuring the service will be stocked ahead of its formal debut on July 11th.