iTunes Match is set to launch alongside iOS 5 and the iPhone 5 this fall, and we are now learning more about how the iTunes Match service will work, including the ability to stream music. Yes, Apple has finally launched a streaming music service, and it is coming to your iPhone and iPad in weeks.
Back when Apple announced the iTunes Match service in June, Steve Jobs made no mention of the streaming feature, focusing on the ability to download your iTunes music to your iPhone from anywhere, giving you access to your iTunes library on the go.
Here is a demo of the iTunes Match service from Insanely Great Mac, which gives a good overview of how the service will work.
Unlike many competing streaming services, like Rhapsody and Spotify, iTunes Match doesn’t give you access to an entire collection of music, unless you already own it. iTunes Match costs $25 a year and allows you to keep copies of up to 25,000 songs in the cloud. When you run the service on your computer, the iTunes Match program will scan your music library and if a match is found in the iTunes store, it will be made available to you immediately at a high 256kbps bitrate, even if your copy is a crappy copy ripped years ago. If your music isn’t in the service, it will be uploaded to Apple’s servers so you can access it from anywhere.
Additionally, you can see how the streaming service will work on your iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad in this second demo video.
What’s nice about Apple’s solution, in addition to the fact that you don’t have to upload all your music and the higher quality, is that the service takes place right inside the Music app on your iPhone or iPad.
With the addition of a streaming service, the iTunes Match $25 annual fee becomes more attractive for users with large iTunes libraries and users in general. This could also come in handy if Apple launches a cheaper iPhone