Apple quietly launched iTunes Match, the first version of Apple’s dominant media player to be based on the iCloud, last night. While only open to Apple developers in its beta stage, it does offer a glimpse of what regular folks can expect when it drops purportedly alongside iOS 5 in the fall.
Users can access and stream their entire iTunes libraries—legal purchases and illegal rips included—from up to five comps and iOS devices. The streams will play from the iTunes master system if the song is there, so a shitty 64kbps mp3 you downloaded during KaZaa’s heyday will play in iTunes’ standard 256kbps, AAC glory. And in the event you want to pull any of the files offline, downloading is enabled for your entire collection. All this for $25 if early reports are to be believed. Apple has yet another gamechanger on its hands.