As expected, Apple has this week revealed details of their iCloud platform, with some surprising features, including a ‘match’ service allowing users to integrate tracks not purchased through the iTunes store.
For $24.99 (around £15.20) a year, users can upload all tracks not purchased through iTunes to the cloud, with Apple then using metadata from an existing catalogue of almost 20 million songs to make the music available on numerous devices in a short amount of time. This will apparently give the service an edge in terms of speed when held up against the recently launched Amazon and Google digital locker services.
At present, it isn’t clear whether or not Apple will be using a digital fingerprint system to identify legitimately purchased tracks or if this is essentially an ‘amnesty’ for music piracy, allowing users to listen to illegally downloaded tracks on numerous devices.
Users of the iCloud will be able to automatically sync content including music and apps between a maximum of 10 registered devices running the updated iOS 5 Operating System.
The iCloud itself is a free service and will enable users to download tracks they have already bought from iTunes to other devices running the same iTunes account without connecting them- provided they are Apple devices of course.
Launching the iCloud at Apple’s worldwide Developer Conference, CEO Steve Jobs said that is was "Not just a hard disk in the sky".
Jobs continued: "We are demoting the PC and Mac to just be a device and moving the digital hub centre of your digital life to the cloud."
'There hasn't been an exact date fixed for the launch of the iCloud, though it is expected in Autumn of this year'