The surprises just keep coming from Apple. On Monday, the company released the beta version of iTunes Match, a cloud-based music service that allows subscribers to sync their entire iTunes music libraries to iCloud for $24.99 a year. Users will be able to access their music from iPhones, iPads, and up to eight other devices. The shocker, however, is that iTunes Match will also support streaming.... sort of. Details remain vague about how exactly Match works, and an Apple spokesperson takes issue with the word "streaming." But, as Eric Slivka at Mac Rumors says, Apple's complaint is semantic — iTunes Match essentially does stream music. How revolutionary is this?
Portable music listening will never be the same: This will be a welcome money-saver for iPhone-owning music lovers, says Jared Newman at TIME. Music gobbles up most of their iPhones' storage space, making streaming from the cloud a godsend. "Instead of getting a phone with more storage at a cost of $100, users can spend $25 per year on iTunes Match instead."
"Full iPhone? New iTunes 'Match' will stream your music tracks"
This puts Apple on top for good: "There's now little question that iTunes in the cloud is superior," says MG Siegler at Tech Crunch. Streaming gives Match the advantage over cloud services from Google and Amazon. Plus those services lack the bonus of having iTunes attached for more music purchasing. Offering both cloud downloading and cloud streaming, iTunes Match "overdelivers" on its already stellar promise.
"With iTunes in the cloud, Apple underpromises and overdelivers"
Wait. Are we celebrating theft? "It's kind of shocking that record companies agreed to this," says Jason O. Gilbert at The Huffington Post. After all, iTunes Match essentially encourages illegal downloading. This cloud service provides a loophole that would allow users to illegally download a song, search for it on iTunes using iTunes Match, and then listen to the legal version of the song anywhere using the iCloud. "So good news for pirates."
"New iTunes Match feature revealed: Music streaming from the cloud coming soon"