Apple Ties Together Mobile Data with iCloud, iTunes Match

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Apple CEO Steve Jobs officially rang the death knell for MobileMe on Monday during his World Wide Developers Conference keynote presentation and unveiled its successor: iCloud. The new service, available this fall, will offer file storage, data syncing, calendar sharing, music and photo storage and syncing, and more.

iCloud rolls in MobileMe’s features, such as calendar and contact syncing, me.com email addresses. New features include:

  • Calendar sharing
  • App Store purchase management with auto-download for new purchases
  • Support for pushing iBooks bookmarks to other iOS devices
  • Daily data backups over Wi-Fi connections
  • Auto-save support for storing documents on iCloud
  • Photo Stream for pushing photos from the camera roll to iCloud, iPhoto and Apple TV
  • iTunes in the Cloud for sharing iTunes libraries with up to ten devices

iCloud will include 5GB of storage, and purchased music, App Store purchases, iBookstore purchases, and photos don’t count against the data storage cap.

Apple also unveiled iTunes Match, which lets users sync songs they ripped to iTunes from their own CDs assuming the tracks are also available on the iTunes Store. The service scans user’s iTunes libraries for ripped tracks, then offers 256Kbps AAC versions through  iCloud.

iTunes Match is priced at US$24.99 a year for up to 5,000 songs.

Apple also said that iTunes in the Cloud will be available to iOS 4.3 users starting today. The iCloud service will launch along with iOS 5 this fall, and will be free.

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11 Comments Leave Your Own

Keith Smith

So, are iTunes In The Cloud & iTunes Match directly replacing the former upgrade your DRM’ed tracks to DRM-free system…?  grin  That’ll be worth the $25 for me…

exAppl088

iCloud wireless will have ATT + Verison laughing all the way
to the bank!  Thus it’s NOT free.

Anyone have averages for various users $/GB 3G cost VS
$/GB broadband, around the US?

I?ll bet FREE WiFi hotspots will disappear due to
all the WiFi load that iCloud will create. 
begin counting the months.

webjprgm

You say ” iTunes Watch” in the article.  If I heard right (and read the slides right), that would be ” iTunes Match”.

webjprgm

So, are iTunes In The Cloud & iTunes Match directly replacing the former upgrade your DRM?ed tracks to DRM-free system??? ? That?ll be worth the $25 for me?

So does it work to sign up for a year and then cancel at the end of the year? By then all your non-iTunes content will have been matched up and available in the ordinary iCloud sync.  All you’d lose is sync of songs that aren’t available in iTunes. 

Some people might regularly purchase music via other channels, so continued service might be useful, but I’ll bet a lot of people just use it for one year and cancel.

Ross Edwards

There is a lot we don’t know yet, though the early signs are intriguing.  Does the Match outright replace your MP3 files, that you’d need for legacy devices?  Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about upgrading my old 128k AAC DRM’ed songs from pre-2008 iTunes (I never found it worthwhile to buy the conversion) but there is a lot that I’d like to keep just the way it is thankyouverymuch.

Also, 5000 songs?  5GB caps?  OK, well, that’s like a tenth of my song library and a thirtieth of the space it takes up.  (I like progressive rock.  Ten-plus-minute songs.  They don’t tend to come in at three megs each like hip-hop tunes do.)

And I echo exApll088’s observations about the data cost.  Time to invest in ATT and VZW if you haven’t already.

This is great news overall for the framework that it represents.  The implementation isn’t all the way there yet, but for a lot of users it looks like it might be enough.

Dean Lewis

Also, 5000 songs?  5GB caps?

I believe I read Jobs said photos and music are not included in the 5GB. I’ll have to watch the keynote to verify or read another verification of that, but I’m sure that came through in one of the live feeds I watched.

Also, all syncing appeared to be being done via WiFi or via WiFi when available, so AT&T and Verizon shouldn’t get that big a boost from it. in fact, they might be squirming that iMessage will circumvent their exorbitant SMS fees.

My question is what happens to iDisk and photo sharing? I use my iDisk to share files quite a bit, and I have several photo galleries up for family and friends.

I’ll gladly pay $29.99 to get better versions of some of the things I’ve ripped. Many have come from older CDs and today’s equipment doesn’t play them at proper volumes.  (Or I should say today’s music production blows chunks and masters everything at the same loud volume and loses the dynamics of the older CDs—much less the warmth of vinyl smile ) So, getting “upgrades” to the current versions for probably half my music for $30? Not bad…

Ross Edwards

Dean, I think it said music you purchased in iTunes doesn’t count against the cap.  It would logically follow that whatever you have ripped from your own CDs (or, I suppose, downloaded in torrents or whatever) would count against the cap.  This would be administratively trivial to implement, since your Apple ID has, for a while now, tracked your song licenses.  I could of course be wrong about this, but that’s what I am concluding based on their presentation thus far.

I certainly agree about the desirability of upgrading some antiquated tracks.  Ideally you would be pushed an AAC file right alongside your MP3 file, or you could reconvert to a new MP3 if the new AAC replaced an old one.  (You wouldn’t want to reconvert from a CD rip because compression from an uncompressed source is always preferable to compression from an already-compressed source.)  I suppose there’s nothing we can do about the modern-mastered tracks that just push everything out as a block of gray noise.

I also share your curiosity about what will happen to iDisk…

Jeremiah Boncha

Any questions please refer to:
www.apple.com

FREE GETS YOU A LOT.
“When you sign up for iCloud, you automatically get 5GB of free storage. And that?s plenty of room, because of the way iCloud stores your content. Your purchased music, apps, and books, as well as your Photo Stream, don?t count against your free storage. That leaves your mail, documents, Camera Roll, account information, settings, and other app data. And since those things don?t use as much space, you?ll find that 5GB goes a long way.”

iTUNES MATCH
Annual price for 5,00 songs: 24.99
Annual price for 20,000 songs: 24.99

DM Dal

I’m worried about overwhelming my IPhone with my Itunes purchases.  My Itunes library is WAY bigger than the larges Iphones available.  If I use Music Match and ICloud, how does it keep from killing my IPhone’s puny flash storage?

webjprgm

I?m worried about overwhelming my IPhone with my Itunes purchases.? My Itunes library is WAY bigger than the larges Iphones available.? If I use Music Match and ICloud, how does it keep from killing my IPhone?s puny flash storage?

Downloading all purchases to all devices is an optional switch.  You could just not switch it on and then manually download just what you want from the purchase history.

Mikuro

iTunes Match is priced at US$24.99 a year for up to 5,000 songs.

Steve presented this a little strangely in the keynote, but he only mentioned the 5,000-song limit to compare it to Amazon’s service (limited to 5,000). He also had a line comparing the cost of 20,000 songs. iCloud: $24.99, Amazon: $200.

He never explicitly said that even 20,000 is the limit in iCloud.

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