When we last checked in, Amazon was thought to finally be pushing for full music rights in its Cloud Drive and Cloud Player services. It might be a smooth operator at the negotiating table: subsequent tips to CNET maintain that the top four major labels (a currently-independent EMI as well as Sony, Universal and Warner) have all signed deals that will let Amazon offer the same scan-and-match music downloads and streaming as Apple’s iTunes Match. The pacts would let Amazon offer access to every song a listener owns without having to directly upload each track that wasn’t bought directly from Amazon MP3. Aside from closing a conspicuous gap, the deal could end a whole lot of acrimony from labels who were upset that Amazon preferred a free-but-limited service over having to charge anything. The online shop hasn’t said anything official yet (if at all), but any signatures on the dotted line will leave Google Music as the odd man out.
Enrolled in the iOS developer program and interested in iTunes Match? Better point that browser towards Apple’s dev portal, as Cupertino’s just flipped the switch for its upcoming music laundering service. There you’ll find iTunes 10.5 beta 6.1 with iTunes Match which’ll let you sign up for a yearly $24.99 fee. Hopping on the bandwagon early has extra rewards too — early birds get three months (on top of their yearly sub) for free. A tipster also provided us with a screencap (after the break) of his iPod touch running the current iOS beta, which now magically has a toggle for the service under the Music section of the Settings app. Taking the plunge? Let us know how you fare in the comments.
Apple tipped its hat early, but now we have the details from the man himself. “iCloud stores your content in the cloud and wirelessly pushes it to all your device. It automatically uploads it, stores it, and pushes it to all your devices.” And by “automatically,” he means it: in addition to every day content, such as purchased music, iBooks, photos and videos, device settings, and app data that will be automatically backed up over WiFi, Documents in the Cloud will effortlessly sync Pages, Numbers, and Keynote data between all of your iOS devices. There will be no advertising (contrary to previous rumors), and calendar, mail, and contact sync is free (for up to five gigs). Also in store is the new Photo Stream cloud feature, which is essentially a gallery in Photos that exists on all of your iOS devices, Apple TV, your OS X and even your Windows PCs, and syncs through the cloud. Take a picture on your iPhone and it appears on your laptop and your iPad, and it’s stored in the cloud for thirty days. And no, your Photo Stream pics do not count towards your 5GB total. iCloud will be released concurrent with iOS 5 this fall.
If that isn’t enough, Apple has announced iTunes Match, a $25 per year service that scans your iTunes library library and populates your iTunes in the Cloud account with any of your previously bought and ripped music — in handy 256Kbps AAC, DRM-free files (as long as the titles already appear in the iTunes store).
Last but not least, MobileMe is no more. If you’re a current member, you can still access everything as usual through June 30, 2012 (according to Apple), but there will be no new enrollments. And if your subscription has auto-renewed recently? Well, we’ve received plenty of tips from readers who have received refunds this morning. So at the very least you have that to look forward too!