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Claims renew iTunes 8 expectations, slate iPhone 2.1 for event

Despite some expectations to the contrary, iTunes 8 is now allegedly a lock for Apple's "Let's Rock" special event and may come with new iPhone firmware that packs surprises of its own.

Ars Technica recants its previous doubts and now says its beliefs that iTunes 8 would miss the September 9th Apple gathering were "unwarranted."

Moreover, it also says that much of Kevin Rose's predicted feature set is also true. The earlier leak pointed to a Genius auto-playlist feature as well as support for a second-generation iPod classic and the expected iPod nano and touch upgrades.

The revised outlook also has the surprise news that Apple may not only announce its known iPhone 2.1 firmware update but release it at the event itself. At a minimum, the software is known to sport the background push notification feature for third-party apps as well as directional GPS that could lead to more advanced navigation.

As a further surprise, Apple could additionally include more features than what it has revealed ahead of time, Ars says. Similar to Apple's frequent practice of keeping larger feature updates out of Mac OS X beta builds to avoid spoiling major introductions, the alleged sources say the company has deliberately stripped out important features from iPhone 2.1 betas seeded to developers to save them for a higher-profile debut.

What these new features may be is still very much unknown, although Apple in an unusual move had removed push notification in one of its last developer betas. The company is said to sometimes remove features or to halt build seeds outright to focus on internal development.

Ars has been historically reliable regarding iTunes-related leaks.