The latest beta of iTunes 10.5.1 was released to developers on Wednesday with enhancements to fix “a number of important stability and performance improvements.” Not only this, support for iTunes Match for Apple TV has been added, bringing us one step closer to being able to use this much-talked about service.
Many iCloud users are anxious for iTunes Match to become available, having expected it to be released prior to the end of October. The only comforting thought is that most of us would far prefer Apple release a stable product and take a little longer than meet a deadline and be back-peddling (not that I’m looking toward any other search engine companies that tried releasing a new mail app yesterday as I say that).
With iTunes Match you will soon be able to have the service scan your music library in an effort to create a catalog that will then become a part of your ‘iCloud music library’ that will make each song available to all of your devices simultaneously in the iTunes 256kbps AAC format.
Unfortunately this service isn’t free and will cost you US $25 a year, but before scoffing at the cost you should consider the benefits. Songs matched with the service do not need to be uploaded and therefore do not count against your iCloud storage quota. This means that as long as your music library is legal and legitimate you are getting a lot of bang for your buck.
Using iTunes Match with your Apple TV is a nice bonus because you won’t need to be streaming your songs to your television (and accompanying sound systems) with any other device, so no need to keep your phone, tablet or computer turned on and close by.
One interesting thing is that Apple identified in their technote that you should not delete songs from your computer (and back them up regularly) once they have been matched. This must mean the software somehow does an ongoing audit of your library, which is something I never considered. I was kind of looking forward to the idea of matching up my music then offloading my library onto an external drive so I could free up much-needed hard drive space on my MacBook Pro.