We've mentioned Apple's iCloud and its many benefits not too long ago, but it's iTunes Match that has many of us in the office just giddy with excitement? Not only does iTunes Match bring make the dream of a universal music library that includes all those not-so-legal tracks you've acquired over the years, but also pushes the boundary on a truly ubiquitous cloud-filled future that we hope to all someday live in.
First things first: iTunes Match? You get it for $24.99 when it comes out later next month. Trust us, we'll be the first in line to give it a go and let you know if it's worth your dollars.
If it truly works the way they've described, we imagine it'd benefit in 3 of the following areas:
For True Cross-Platforming: PC? Mac? It doesn't matter anymore when your music's all in one place, accessible through a single familiar interface. (Note: We still think iTunes is slow as hell, so we hope Apple finally addresses the excessive resource consumption in the next big update)
For Gadget Freaks: Own tons of iDevices? This technology is for you! Even if it's just an iPhone and an iPad, being able to have your entire music collection directly accessible from any device is one damn amazing feat. Best of all, no more USB wires to worry about!
For the Competition: Word on the street (or the local Internet blogosphere) is that Amazon is working on a new Kindle to compete with all this iPad business, as well as introducing their own cloud music service to compete with Apple's iTunes Match. That's good news for us consumers since that means pricing will be competitive, devices will go on sale, and we'll have the option to go with the best bang/speed/reliability for our buck. Win-win, that's how we like it.
But Careful!: Even though iTunes Match sounds very promising, services like Spotify have gained great traction in the recent months and there's plenty others behind 'em hoping to reel in users by giving them what they've been asking for all along - music on all their devices without the hassles of syncing cables.
Another choke point may be the fact that we've heard iTunes Match requires an always-on connection to access the music from the cloud. Despite its claims of being 'super-fast,' folks who DJ for a living and audiohiles who want nothing but the highest bitrate for their music. If Apple can solve the design issues with those particular crowds, we're quite certain it'll be a hit.