Apple scooped up Lala well over a year ago and since we haven’t heard much about the cloud based music service. However, today Apple unveiled their iTunes Match, a service that is virtually analogous to Lala’s last offering, but offers some enhancements.
First off, let’s look at what it is. iTunes Match let’s you effectively upload all your tunes to the cloud, allowing you to access your music any where you go, that is assuming you’ve got an Internet connection. It works by scanning your iTunes library and verifying that you own the music. You won’t have to upload any music to Apple’s cloud service, unless of course they don’t already store that album or song in their library.
Apple is pitting their service against Google and Amazon, both who in recent offered a comparable service. The asking price is $25 a year. For that money Apple will upgrade all your tunes to 256kbps, which ain’t a bad deal considering they’ve been asking individual dollar amounts to upgrade songs or albums to the higher bit rate ever since they released iTunes Plus. As of now the service is capped at 20,000 songs, which on average is about 2000 albums. Lastly, Apple promises that that ‘scan and match’ service will take just minutes, not weeks, unlike some competitors (Amazon).
There is no word on an actual release date but we’re assuming this fall, when Apple plans to release their Cloud Service, a free of charge service with up to 5GB of space (it let’s you sync your contacts, photos, etc).