Apple his finally released iTunes Match, alongside the iTunes 10.5.1 update, which allows subscribers to store their entire iTunes music library in iCloud, accessing it from any Apple device that they're signed into. The release comes about two weeks later than excpected, as Apple had announced that the feature would go public before the end of October. You're limited to 25,000 tracks, although iTunes purchases don't count towards that limit in any way, and all your music will be upgraded to DRM-free 256 kbps AAC files. Who's signing up?
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.
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.
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.
Apple recently started allowing users to re-download TV shows purchased through iTunes, a feature already available for books, apps, and music. Movies are the one hold-out, but AppAdvice says iTunes Reply will add movies to the re-download list for a "full-fledged" service and potentially allow users to stream everything via Apple TV and iOS. No word on the desktop.
The service would apply to media purchased back to January 1, 2009. As Apple signs the appropriate licensing agreements, the company will put arrows next to purchased shows and movies to indicate that they are eligible for replay, AppAdvice said.
The blog said users should "expect this to go public in the coming weeks" and framed it as "an extension of what Apple is already doing with iCloud."
If you've been putting off calling your aunt in the Dominican Republic or your Slovenian cousins because of the cost of calling from your mobile phone, a promotion from Vonage should pique your interest. The VoIP provider is giving away one free international phone call, up to 15 minutes, to anyone who downloads its new iPhone app, Time to Call. The app is also free.
What's especially appealing about the offer is you don't have to be a paying customer of Vonage (from $11.99 per month) to use the app or get the one free trial call. The free call expires one year after you download the app. Be sure to check that the country you're calling is on the list of 100 that are included in the deal (check below).
After your one free call, all calls are billed in 15-minute increments. Prices for the 15-minute blocks of international talk time range from 99 cents to $9.99, depending on which country you call, although calling most countries is less than $1.99. And typical of Vonage's slightly experimental nature, the Time to Call app doesn't charge you through pre-paid credits or an in-system account, the way other services such as Skype do. Instead, Vonage's app bills you directly through iTunes.
Apple just released an update for the Apple TV that brings a couple of new and welcome features to the platform. First, iCloud integration for television shows. There is a new "Purchased TV Shows" area that shows all shows that you have bought, either through the iTunes Store or from the original Apple TV (the current model doesn't allow purchasing, just renting.) You can go into this area for a list of shows you own, and then can drill into that show to see which episodes you've purchased, indicated by the iCloud logo. The other feature that the update brings is Vimeo support. You can now browse and play content from Vimeo, and if you have an account, you can even put in your credentials to access your inbox and mark videos you want to watch later.
The update is available now to all.
In this episode we give you a first look at over the air updates in iOS 5! With the release of iOS 5 beta 4, Apple is now testing OTA updates, allowing users to update their iOS devices without connecting them to iTunes. Instead, the update happens right on the device itself, using Wi-Fi or 3G. We give you a look at how the process works on an iPhone 4 running iOS 5 beta 4 on a Wi-Fi network.
Big thank you to Carbonite and JackThreads for sponsoring the show - be sure to check them out! Carbonite offers off-site backup of your computer, and you can get two free months (no credit card needed!) by visiting Carbonite and using promo code TPN. As for JackThreads, we've got exclusive invite codes that give you $5 to use towards anything you'd like.
When Apple introduced iCloud at WWDC 2011, the big news was that the service would be free. Of course, Steve Jobs did make sure to mention that the 5 GB of storage included with iCloud would be more than enough "for most users," and we believe him. However, there are others out there (like us) who fall outside of that category. For example, I am only currently able to have iCloud back up just my iPhone 4. When I try to also add my iPad 2 to the backup, it errors out, telling me that I don't have enough space available, and that I need to buy ore storage space. Of course, since iCloud is still in beta, I'm unable to do that. Another iCloud user has come very close to hitting his 5 GB quota, and received the email above from Apple. Surprisingly to us, it says that once he reaches 5 GB stored, he won't even be able to receive any new email messages. Sounds like people are gonna have to really keep an eye on how much storage they are using, especially if they have more than one iOS device backing up to the cloud.
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I've long since stopped kvetching over the number of things Apple chief executive Steve Jobs can attach an "i" to and call his own. The maverick CEO's track record is just too darn good. Now that we know that Apple's iCloud is a real thing, there's no sense in wondering how Jobs can have the gall to rebrand cloud computing. I'd rather focus on what Apple will do with the cl...er... iCloud now that Apple has adopted it as its own.
Is Apple new to the cloud? If you accept that at the most fundamental level, cloud computing is simply a matter of thin clients (hardware or software) accessing Internet-based services and intelligence, then the answer is no. Consider Apple's reliance on streaming services for Apple TV's TV show and movie rentals, or the way genius playlists work.
iCloud, which Apple will officially unveil at next week's World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC), will be more, and streaming content is only the beginning. Obviously, we expect some sort of cloud-based, access-anywhere music library. Apple may even cave and offer a subscription-based music service. These plans will only succeed if Apple has done what Google failed to do with Google Music Beta: convince the major labels to let consumers store and access purchased (and rented) music from central servers.
I think music labels fear this not only because they worry about losing further control of the digital bits that make up their vast song libraries, but because no one will ever buy more than one copy of a song again, and if they get subscription access, they're done buying music—period.