Apple has missed its own deadline to launch iTunes Match, a service that lets users store their entire music library in the cloud, or the iCloud, for access through any iOS device or computer.
Apple CEO Tim Cook announced the iPhone 4S (see our iPhone 4S review) in early October, and iOS 5 and iCloud went live several days later. The final piece of that puzzle, iTunes Match, was expected to launch at the end of October for $24.99 per year, but here we are on November 2 with no iTunes Match in sight.
With iTunes Match, users can store their entire music library in the cloud, or iCloud, for on-the-go access to your music from any iOS device or computer.
A portion of iTunes in the Cloud went live in June during Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC), while a developer version of iTunes Match was released in late August; Apple even reportedly wiped out developers' Match libraries, fueling speculation that a launch was imminent.
Edit: Be sure to check out our iPhone 4S review as well!
Back in June, I detailed the nine features that I wanted Apple to include in iOS 5—features that would fix obvious OS flaws and expand upon its already rock-solid foundation. Days later, at WWDC 2011, Apple revealed a handful of the "200 new features" that would comprise Cupertino's latest mobile operating system—many of which were what I and droves of other iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch users had desired for some time. Fast forward to today: iOS 5 is now here, and it surpasses iOS 4 with its overhauled alerts and notification system, wireless syncing, the ability for users to activate iPads without first connecting them to a Mac or PC, and many other much-welcomed features. No operating system—be it mobile or desktop—is without flaws, but Apple iOS 5 manages to keep the dings to a minimum and retains its place as the best phone and tablet operating system. Note: iOS 5 is only compatible with the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPod touch 3rd Generation, iPod touch 4th gen, iPad, and iPad 2.
Now, let's get to the review, shall we?
Apple just released iPhoto 9.2, which brings Photo Stream support as its main new feature, but also include some other fixes and enhancements as well:
- Left and right swipe gestures can now be used to navigate between photos in Magnify (1-up) view
- Previously imported photos are now displayed in a separate section of the Import window
- Book/calendar themes and card categories can now be selected using a pop-up menu in the carousel view
- Resolves an issue that could cause some pages of books to print incorrectly
- Rebuilding a library now correctly preserves saved slideshows and books
- The update is recommended for all users of iPhoto '11.
Right on time, Apple has release iOS 5 to the masses, and it's now available for your downloading pleasure for the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, the iPad, and the third- and fourth-generation iPod touch. iOS 5 brings with it a bunch of new features, including iMessage, iCloud, Notification Center, Twitter integration, and much more. Plug your iOS device in, and use iTunes to check for updates, and you'll be well on your way. Also, this may be the last time you'll need to tether a cable to your device to update, as iOS 5 also introduces over-the-air updates. Enjoy the new hotness!
Apple has released Mac OS X Lion 10.7.2 in conjunction with the release of iOS 5 today, and iTunes 10.5 yesterday. If you're running Lion, go ahead and hit Software Update to get the latest release, which stars iCloud integration front and center. If you don't have Lion yet, you can download it from the Mac App Store. There's a lot more than that, though, so hit the jump for the full changelog.
Apple just released iTunes 10.5, one day ahead of the release of iOS 5 and iCloud. The updated version of iTunes will be required to update devices to iOS 5, and also brings with it iTunes in the Cloud, Wi-Fi syncing, and more. Full release notes below:
What’s new in iTunes 10.5
- iTunes in the Cloud. iTunes now stores your music and TV purchases in iCloud and makes them available on your devices anywhere, any time, at no additional cost.
- Automatic Downloads. Purchase music from any device or computer and automatically download a copy to your Mac and iOS devices.
- Download Previous Purchases. Download your past music, TV, app, and book purchases again, at no additional cost. Previous purchases may be unavailable if they are no longer on the iTunes Store.
- Sync with your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch with iOS 5.
- Wi-Fi Syncing. Automatically sync your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch with iTunes any time they’re both on the same Wi-Fi network.
The iPhone 5 will be revealed in under an hour. In all likelihood, it won't be called that—that's just the general name people are calling the device, since it will technically be the fifth iPhone model from Apple. As with any iPhone launch, there have been the obligatory predictions, analysis, and mountains of rumors, but this launch is different from previous ones in a big and obvious way: Apple is unveiling the next iPhone in the fall instead of summer. Why?
It used to be there was a kind of unwritten agreement between Apple and its customers. Apple didn't say word one about any of its products until they were on the verge of general release. On the other side, customers and observers—the whole world, really—could rely on an extremely regular product release schedule: iPods in the fall, iPads in the winter/spring, and iPhones in the summer. It was so predictable you could plan vacations around it.
Hey iOS devs, you can now test out iTunes Match Beta. iTunes Match is a $24.99 per year service, integrated with iCloud, that stores your entire music library in iCloud, allowing you to access that content from an iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or computer. It plays the tracks at 256 Kbps (iTunes Plus quality,) even if the original version is of lower quality. One big advantage that iTunes and Apple have here over services like Google Music is that you don't need to upload your entire library. Any songs that Apple has available in iTunes are automatically added to your iCloud account without the need for uploading. iTunes Match should be available publicly this fall.
Steve Jobs is no longer CEO of Apple. We all knew we'd hear those words someday, but today they've become startlingly, suddenly real. Jobs abruptly resigned from his post at around 6:30 p.m. Eastern Time, taking the tech world—check that, the world—by surprise. Among the host of initial questions is, Why now?
I don't mean the reasoning behind the exact time, which is obvious. By making the announcement in the early evening after the markets had closed, Jobs was careful not to hit a jittery Wall Street with his bombshell. And I don't mean the end of August—though for the record all signs are pointing to the next Apple event happening in mid September at the earliest, so the announcement neatly avoids overshadowing other Apple business.
There's certainly the medical reason, which no doubt factors highly. Jobs was on medical leave, after all, most likely due to complications from the pancreatic cancer he beat a few years ago. But tellingly, Jobs isn't resigning to play golf or spend all his time with his family. He's been appointed chairman of Apple's board, and continue to be involved. His condition is certainly at the heart his decision, but given that he's clearly not on his deathbed, he could have probably waited months to make this move, if not until 2012.
A few weeks back, I wrote a column discussing the tablet that Amazon is rumored to introduce this fall. Since then, I have heard a few more things about this tablet that are quite interesting. In my last column on this topic, I stated that the center of its design would be on reading books. That appears to be true, as multiple sources tell me that it will have the best reading experience of any tablet on the market. But, I am also hearing that Amazon is using pretty low-cost parts and not using any of the major manufacturers that are producing most of the tablets for mainstream competitors. Apparently, the company's key goal is to make the tablet very inexpensive and then use a new business model to own the Android tablet market.
I believe that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos knows that all of the other Android vendors are at a big disadvantage when it comes to competing with Apple. Apple has a two-year lead on them, a great app store and services program, and a soon-to-be-key technology, the iCloud, which will keep all iOS apps and devices in-sync. And it has 250 million users' credit cards and hundreds of retail stores to help people learn about the iPad and buy one on the spot. None of the other tablet vendors can even come close to matching what Apple has to offer, except maybe Amazon. Although Amazon does not have retail stores like Apple does, it does have an Appstore for Android, music and movies for downloading, the Amazon Cloud Drive for storage, and the credit cards of 200+ million users. It also has limited channel partners, like Best Buy, that it could expand as well. But, I hear that while its tablet could marginally compete against Apple, this is not the company Amazon is going after with its tablet offering. It is smarter than that. Rather, I believe Amazon's goal is to be the market leader in Android and be the top seller of tablets with this mobile OS.