Apple has unveiled its long-anticipated iCloud suite, including a cloud music service which takes advantage of the extensive iTunes library.
Steve Jobs took to the stage yesterday to introduce the suite, including a revamped version of the MobileMe cloud contacts, calendar and mail services. iCloud will also back up and store settings, app data, purchased content, photos and videos, documents and emails.
But most of the attention has been focused on iTunes in the Cloud.
Apple is launching its cloud music service after Google and Amazon, but Apple's version has a crucial difference – it can take advantage of music tracks already stored in the cloud. Users will be able to access songs from their iTunes library on any of their devices for free, using the versions stored on iTunes servers.
The potential game changer is the subscription iTunes Match service, which will allow users to add to the cloud songs from their music libraries not purchased from iTunes.
The $25 per year service, which will launch in the US in Autumn, will attempt to match songs on users' hard drives with versions of songs in the iTunes store, and will only upload the songs it can't find matches for.
Taking a jab at its competitors, Apple said this method “makes the matched music available in minutes, instead of weeks to upload your entire music library.”