Apple has just released the next iteration of iTunes, software version 10.5.1, which includes the new iTunes Match feature. The service, available at $25 per year for users in the USA, allows users to ‘match’ their music collection with the massive Apple iTunes library to allow streaming of content from the cloud at 256Kbps quality. The service was initially supposed to launch in mid-October but the company missed that date, instead apparently waiting until now to release iTunes Match to the public.
While Match has been available to developers for some time, it’s a rather unexpected release of iTunes Match at this stage simply because a new beta was released to developers only in the past couple of days.
While iTunes Match is only available in the US at the moment, recent rumors have suggested it will hit other countries like the UK before the year is out. This is apparently subject to negotiation with record labels, but the service is still expected to be rolled out to more countries in the near future.
The update to iTunes is available via software update or directly on the iTunes Download Page