updated 09:05 pm EDT, Mon August 29, 2011
iTunes Match gets early test run
Apple formally brought iTunes Match into action Monday after it posted iTunes 10.5 beta 6.1. Developers can now stream songs from iCloud both in iTunes on a computer as well as on any mobile device running iOS 5. Signing on gives as many as 10 Macs or iOS devices, with as many as five computers signed on with the same Apple ID.
The streaming option tops out at a maximum of 25,000 uploaded songs, although like with the storage cap, iTunes purchases don't count against the limit. In an uncommon step for these services, computers and devices can be attached with a different Apple ID, but only once every 90 days.
Despite the pre-release status, developers still have to pay the $25 per year for access to iTunes Match, although they get both the beta period and an extra three months added to the period.
The test phase has some flaws that suggest it's still far enough from being ready that significant flaws still exist. Along with refusing to upload unsupported formats, iTunes Match might not correctly identify the right track. iOS users might also get sluggish performance or 'phantom' songs that are falsely labeled unavailable, and the current implementation ignores iOS restrictions against playing over a cellular connection.
Apple is presumed to be taking iTunes Match public at the same time as the iPhone 5, which could show in October.