It's pretty much a guarantee that Apple will release a new version of iTunes to coincide with this Saturday's iPad launch, and now MacRumors has a source claiming it will be iTunes 9.1 and contain iPad support, integration of ePub for iBooks management, Genius Mix enhancements, and bitrate conversion.
According to the source, the existing "Audiobooks" entry in the iTunes Source list will be replaced with a broader "Books" section. A similar change will made to the sources for managing content on connected devices such as iPhones, iPods, and iPads. The revamped "Books" section for connected devices will reportedly display all book content compatible with a given device for easy content management.
The bitrate conversion, which would previously automagically make 128-bit AAC files for iPod shuffle is said to be rolled out across devices in this new version.
Will we see it before Saturday? Apple would be wise to spread out the server load for this and the iPad App Store launch, so we certainly hope so!