Well, now we know what Apple is doing with its new data centers and its 2009 purchase of Lala. Yes, it's finally happening. Today at Apple's WWDC, Steve Jobs declared that iTunes is floating away into the clouds and into an entirely new era for digital music storage, management, and enjoyment. Following the presentations of Mac OSX Lion
, iOS 5
, and iCloud
, Steve Jobs turned to iTunes.
"It's the same old story," Jobs said in his introduction of the iTunes improvement. "I buy something on my iPhone and it's not on my other devices. I grab my iPod and I go to listen to that song and it ain't there!" Apple has finally rolled out a solution to this ubiquitous conundrum. And it involves launching iTunes into the clouds, after what feels like years of speculation that it ultimately would end up there.
"Now when I buy a song on one of my devices it automatically downloads to all of my devices without having to sync or do anything at all." According to Jobs, "This is the first time we've seen this in the music industry. There's no charge for multiple downloads to different devices." It's all made possible with a new "purchased" tab in iTunes, which enables users to browse all of their albums and then tap the corresponding cloud button to make the magic happen and push the music to all your connected iOS devices with iTunes.
Of course, while this feature relates to the music you've purchased through iTunes, what about the music you've ripped but not purchased? Steve says there’s three ways you can deal with this: “One, you can sync your devices over Wi-Fi or cable, and then you can rely on iCloud. Or, if it’s just a few songs you love, you can buy them on iTunes. But we’re offering a third way, and we call it iTunes Match.”
Calling it an "industry leading offer," with a price tag of $24.99 per year, the iTunes Match service will scan your entire library of songs - yes, the entire library - and subsequently match the songs up with the library of songs available in iTunes, of which there are now more than 18 million. Jobs says the new service "will take just minutes" to do all the matching and syncing. He also reminded us how much longer it takes for Google and Amazon to provide a similar function - not to mention at a much greater cost.