Apple's been busy. Two weeks ago it sent out a cryptic message, Lets talk iPhone, to the media outlets. Then Apple released the iTunes 10.5 beta 9 to developers Friday.
The new iTunes 10.5 will have a few new features to coincide with the launch of the rumored iPhone5 and its newly revamped iOS 5 mobile device operating system. The two features that will be the main focus of the new iTunes release are the iCloud and the iTunes Match programs. though Developers are still hammering out some bugs in the beta 9.
The iCloud service is still in beta, but Apple is already showing the service off on its Web site. The service will wirelessly push content from one device to another, providing any mobile devices have iOS 5. When you buy a song from iTunes on your computer, it will then send the song to your iPhone or iPad (or both) automatically.
iTunes also keeps track of your purchase history, so if you don't have a particular song or TV show on your current device, you can go into your history and download it again.
The iCloud also automatically transmits photos you take on your phone and pushes them you your other devices, much like it does with music. iOS devices will store the last 1,000 photos you have taken. The iCloud will also save your photos online for 30 days before deleting them. You'll have to save them to your devices' camera roll or your another digital photo album if you want to keep them longer.
You can store documents on the iCloud as well. iCloud also automatically backs up books, apps, phone numbers, texts, ringtones and device settings to the cloud.
Apple will give iCloud users 5GB of storage for free. But users will probably eat up that free storage pretty fast. There is an option to purchase more space, but no word yet on how much it will cost. Similar services like Dropbox, charge $10 a month for 50GB of cloud space and $20 for 100GB. Apple will probably have a similar price structure.
Then there is the iTunes Match service. It is a optional add-on to iCloud that will run about $25 a year. It lets users upload songs they have ripped from CD and other places to the cloud. All the songs that are available on the iTunes store will stream to your player, even if you haven't purchased them from iTunes. And then the songs that aren't available from iTunes will be stored on the cloud.
The services are expected to launch around when the new iPhone5 hits the marketplace, which could be a matter of weeks.