iTunes Match, Apple’s answer to Google Music and Amazon Cloud Drive, was scheduled to be released to the public by the end of October, as announced at the “Let’s Talk iPhone” event. However, it’s November and there is no sign of iTunes Match.
The last communication from Apple with regard to iTunes Match was an email sent to registered developers warning them that their iTunes Match library would be wiped.
Apple was earlier expected to launch iTunes Match along with iCloud and iOS 5 with functionality for the same built into iTunes 10.5. The company however chose to skip iTunes Match entirely in the 10.5 release of iTunes, and instead seeded iTunes 10.5.1 to developers who could beta test the feature.
Now with iTunes 10.5.1 beta expired and no new beta seeded, iTunes Match clearly has missed its launch target. According to MacRumors Apple has already started briefing its retail store staff on iTunes Match, indicating that the launch is near.
What we’re very sure of is, the next public announcement from Apple with regard to iTunes Match would be the public release, not some PR response reasoning out the delay.
The service would initially be available to U.S. users for $24.99 a year, with the international rollout happening as and when Apple signs deals with major music labels.