Apple has just released another iTunes update and finally introduced some long awaited functionality to your Apple ID and iTunes purchasing experience. Personally I always thought the iTunes Apple ID system should have always been able to remember your purchases and allow you to download, re-download or sync between all your Apple devices. Now that functionality has been realised and adds another tick in the ever growing list of why you should use iTunes to purchase your music.
Wifi syncing is another big positive in this latest iTunes release. The way in which every piece of technology these days seems to have some kind of Wifi connectivity, always having to sync your iPhone, iPad or other iOS device with a USB cable feels slightly old fashioned. This will of course in some instances highlight the problematic nature of poor wifi strength and dropouts in some households but overall should improve functionality.
Personally I am really looking forward to seeing the whole iTunes match system in action. Over the years I have converted old collections of tapes and vinyl LP records to MP3 using turntables and some of the content is really obscure by what I see as “iTunes kind of music”. It will be interesting to see what is actually matched and updated to the 256-Kbps quality.
Here’s how it works: iTunes determines which songs in your collection are available in the iTunes Store. Any music with a match is automatically added to iCloud for you to listen to anytime, on any device. Since there are more than 20 million songs in the iTunes Store, chances are, your music is already in iCloud. And for the few songs that aren’t, iTunes has to upload only what it can’t match. Which is much faster than starting from scratch. Once your music is in iCloud, you can stream and store it to any of your devices. Even better, all the music iTunes matches plays back from iCloud at 256-Kbps AAC DRM-free quality — even if your original copy was of lower quality.
iTunes match has been an interesting concept from the get go requiring the big record labels to agree to license thousands of titles. Then to make it even more controversial, iTunes match promises to allow you to bring along your own collection of mp3 files converted from your ripped CD library to the cloud and the better quality files. Problem is that with standard mp3 files, how does the system know that the mp3 was obtained via a ripped CD or downloaded from the internet? The service then looks to allow people who obtain music through questionable means to legitimise their collections? I think both Apple and the record labels have thought this out though, people who have ripped their CD library now will be able to take part in the whole iTunes in the cloud setup, users who purchase only through iTunes will not be affected and people who are converting questionable libraries will now in some way be able to contribute for their musical enjoyment. It seems like a big win win for every entity involved.
iTunes match has been released in the US but where is iTunes match for us Australians? Its mentioned in the update but unfortunately not available down under, yet… As always Apple will hold their cards close and reveal information on an Australian release when they deem fit. Your guess is as good as mine in regards to the Australia iTunes match release.
What’s new in iTunes 10.5.1
Introducing iTunes Match. Store your entire music library in iCloud, including music you’ve imported from CDs, and enjoy your collection anywhere, anytime, on your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, computer, or Apple TV.
iTunes 10.5 also included:
- 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 PC 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.
For information on the security content of this update, please visit: support.apple.com/kb/HT1222