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In yet another sign that Apple is moving swiftly toward the release of iCloud this fall, Apple released a new beta version of iTunes to developers on Monday night which brings iTunes Match testing -- that is, for those quick enough to sign up and discover the service appears to stream as well as download songs.
MacRumors is reporting that a number of additional discoveries have been made by developers after Apple released a new version of iTunes 10.5 beta 6.1 late Monday, bringing an iTunes Match beta along for the ride. Apparently a number of developers rushed to sign up for the $24.95 per year service, because there are reports that Apple has now closed the service for several days. (Oh Apple, how very Google of you!)
“iTunes Match beta testing has begun with an initial set of developers,” a warning reads when developers attempt to access iTunes Match through the iTunes 10.5 beta. “Over the next days, we will continue to expand our testing. Please check back later to subscribe.”
Thankfully, a number of quick-draw developers were able to get inside the iTunes Match service on Monday night, and some of them have already discovered that Apple’s forthcoming service actually does allow streaming as well as downloading of songs -- an unexpected surprise.
“What wasn't clear before is the fact that music can be either streamed or downloaded locally to any of your computers or devices,” MacRumors explains. “So, essentially, you will have instant access to your entire music library from all of your Macs, iPhones, iPads, or iPod touches for only $25/year. This ability on your iOS devices means your music library won't need to take up valuable space on the device itself, as long as you have some sort of internet connection.”
The move also puts iTunes Match on more equal footing with streaming subscription services such as Spotfiy, Rdio and Rhapsody, which bring “all you can hear” music to your computer or mobile device for $10 per month in most cases. iTunes Match will only let you access music you already own, but a “scan and match” process will allow you to replace poor quality rips from CD or from questionable MP3 sources with 256kbps iTunes Plus files -- as well as the ability to store up to 25,000 of your own songs on iCloud that can’t be matched by iTunes.
Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter