Apple seeded developers with iTunes 10.5.1 beta 2 late last evening, and also added iTunes Match to the second-generation Apple TV under the new main menu option “Music.” According to Apple’s release notes, iTunes 10.5.1 beta 2 offers stability and performance improvements for iTunes Match, and is a required update for all subscribers to the iTunes Match beta. Apple had promised to launch iTunes Match by the end of October, but missed its self-imposed deadline earlier this week, and is evident by these new releases, is continuing to test the service ahead of its anticipated wide-scale rollout. iTunes 10.5.1 beta 2 is available now as a free download from the iOS Dev Center.
Apple has sent out an email notice to registered iOS developers, informing them that the company will be deleting all iTunes Match libraries later today. “To continue to improve the overall quality and reliability of iTunes Match, we will be deleting all current iCloud libraries on Thursday, October 27,” the message reads. It also reminds users to turn off iTunes Match on all their computers and iOS devices ahead of the scheduled deletion. Announced in June at WWDC, iTunes Match is a $24.99/year service that matches tracks in a user’s iTunes library with tracks stored on the company’s iTunes Store servers, uploading any tracks it can’t match, and offering users full access to all their music — up to 25,000 tracks — from any of their devices. Apple said at its “Let’s talk iPhone” event that the service would be available at the “end of October.”
Apple is in talks with Hollywood studios to add movie streaming to its iCloud service. Citing people with knowledge of the matter, the Los Angeles Times reports that Apple representatives have been meeting with studios to finalize deals that would allow customers to stream movies purchased on the iTunes Store to any Apple device. As noted in the report, the moves comes at a time when a majority of the major studios—all but Disney—are preparing to rollout a similar initiative called Ultraviolet, in which consumers purchasing select DVD or Blu-ray titles will also have access to digital copies that can be streamed to Internet-connected TVs, smartphones, and tablets; Apple is not one of the companies currently participating in the initiative. Regardless, the report suggests that the studios may be amenable to adding Apple on, as it accounts for 66 percent of online movie sales and rentals, and thus building a cloud-based movie business without its support could prove difficult.
While the report suggests that Apple’s devices could be made Ultraviolet compatible via Apps, it appears that a more sensible approach—especially given iTunes’ current handling of digital copies included with physical releases—would be to allow iTunes to store the copy of the film and handle streaming in the same way it will for traditional iTunes purchases.
Apple has updated its iCloud.com website, and removed the “beta” tag from the initial login screen. Launching later today alongside iOS 5, iCloud is a free online service for iOS and OS X users providing support for mail, calendar, contacts, photos, documents and more. iCloud.com will specifically provide access to the service’s email, contacts, calendar, Find My iPhone, and iWork document storage services. Notably, the website does not provide any way for users to sign up for a new iCloud account; it appears Apple expects users to do so on their iOS devices.
Apple has posted a streaming video feed of today’s “Let’s talk iPhone” event. At the event, which lasted upwards of 90 minutes, Apple highlighted its upcoming iOS 5 operating system and iCloud, announced modest updates to the iPod nano and iPod touch, unveiled its new Cards and Find My Friends apps, and debuted the iPhone 4S. The stream is available for viewing now from Apple’s website.
During today’s iPhone event, Apple also announced the coming general release of its iTunes Match service. Briefly touched on in the spring, iTunes Match is an extension of the company’s iCloud offerings that will allow subscribers to effectively place their entire iTunes music library “in the cloud” by matching content in their iTunes library with those songs already available on the iTunes Store, uploading those songs that don’t match. On iOS 5 devices, iTunes Match will effectively replace the synced music library with the online library, providing users with access to their entire music collection from anywhere a data connection is available.
The service will provide immediate music streaming to iOS 5 devices with the ability to download specific tracks, albums or playlists. Playlists and other iTunes metadata such as rating and play counts will also sync via the iTunes Match service. iTunes Match will initially be available in the U.S. only for $25 per year.
Apple today officially announced the public release of its iCloud service. Introduced in June at Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference, iCloud is a free online service for iOS and OS X users providing support for mail, calendar, contacts, photos, documents and more. Specific features include push Contacts, Calendar and Mail similar to the company’s soon-to-be-discontinued MobileMe service along with several new features: Photostream for syncing photos between iOS devices and desktop computers, storage and synchronization of documents across multiple devices and online backups of iOS device settings and data to the cloud. iCloud requires iOS 5 or OS X 10.7.2 and will be available for sign-up on October 12th. Each iCloud account includes 5GB of free online storage; users can choose to purchase additional storage at annual rates of $20 for 10GB, $40 for 20GB or $100 for 50GB.
Apple’s “Let’s talk iPhone” media event is being held today at the company’s campus Town Hall auditorium. As there are plenty of announcements expected to come from the event, we’re providing this story as a starting point—we’ll be linking to all the major news from the event right here, so check back periodically throughout the afternoon for more updates.
Apple introduces Cards, a new free app that lets you create and send cards directly from your iPhone. It will mail printed cards through the mail after you design them, then provide tracking notifications to your iPhone. Cards will be $3 each when mailed within the U.S. Available October 12.
Apple announces Find My Friends application for iCloud, enabling you to locate your friends and family if they’re using Apple’s devices.
“New” iPod nano announced - new user interface, 16 new clock faces, Nike+ without the need for shoe-based sensors. $129/$149, available today. Seven colors like the previous ones. Updated! Originally claimed to be a “new” iPod nano, this appears to be little more than a price change with a minor software update. Following the event, it was discovered that the software will be released for the 2010 iPod nano as well.
Updated iPod touch: black and white, $199 8GB, $299 32GB, $399 64GB. Available October 12. Nothing mentioned about under-the-hood changes of any sort. Updated! Apart from the color addition, there does not appear to be any change to the iPod touch hardware at all this year.
iPhone 4S officially announced with A5 processor, dual-core graphics chip that’s up to 7x faster than prior iPhone (down from 9x in prior iPad). Yet now gets eight hours of talk time, six hours of 3G browsing, 9 of Wi-Fi browsing. Now can switch between two antennas for improved call quality. Data speeds now doubled for downloading—now up to nearly 14.4Mbps downloading speed. Apple is not calling this 4G, but saying that the performance is 4G-caliber. It’s a dual-band world phone with both GSM + CDMA. Improved camera sports an 8-Megapixel sensor with backside illumination, gathering 73% more light than before, with a hybrid IR filter and 1/3 faster performance. The lens now has 5 elements and is f/2.4—really wide angle with 30% greater sharpness, macro photo feature, plus 1080p video recording.
iPhone 4S also gets AirPlay mirroring. And expanded voice controls thanks to an integrated Siri assistant. “What’s the weather like today?” can be answered by the iPhone 4S with a forecast. “Find me a great Greek restaurant in Palo Alto,” and it returns a bunch of results sorted by rating. The interface is a mix of prior Siri and the linen backdrop of OS X and iOS, tying into iOS applications to look up calendar information, messages, and other things stored on the device. It can read to you, and understand what you’re saying. It will initially be available in English, German, and French support, with other languages to follow. 16GB, 32GB, 64GB $199/$299/$399. 3GS and 4 will still be sold, 3GS free on contract, iPhone 4 is $99 for 8GB. Preorder on 7th, available October 14, Verizon AT+T and Sprint. First countries: U.S., Canada, Australia, U.K., France, Germany, and Japan, with more to follow on the 28th, then more through end of the year.
A summary of the presentation thus far is available after the break.
Apple has released another update to its beta version of iTunes 10.5 for registered iOS developers. The update appears to be primarily targeted at developers testing the iTunes Match service, with iTunes 10.5 beta 7 also remaining available as a separate download for registered iOS developers. This latest release follows reports of iTunes Match data being reset earlier this week for developers testing the service. iTunes 10.5 beta 9 is available for download now for registered developers from the iOS Dev Center.
Apple has posted an announcement on its developer site for both iOS and Mac developers noting that it will reset all iCloud backup data on September 22nd. “On Thursday, September 22, the iCloud Backup data will be reset. Backing up to iCloud or restoring from an iCloud backup will be unavailable from 9 AM PDT – 5 PM PDT,” the message reads. “If you attempt a backup or restore during this time, you will receive an alert that the backup or restore was not successful. After this reset, you will be unable to restore from any backup created prior to September 22. A full backup will happen automatically the next time your device backs up to iCloud.” Registered developers have had access to iCloud for testing purposes during the iOS 5 beta period, as the service will launch alongside iOS 5 this fall. A report from last week—which incorrectly suggested that iOS 5 beta 8 would be released last Friday—claimed that Apple would release the Gold Master (GM) build of iOS 5 on or around September 23, which would coincide with this iCloud data reset.
Apple over the weekend reopened its iTunes Match beta to registered iOS developers. Mac Rumors reports that the company sent out emails to developers, letting them know that the beta has been expanded to additional developers in the U.S. The email also notes that iTunes 10.5 beta 8 is required to use the service. iTunes Match is an upcoming $25/year cloud-based service from Apple that matches the songs in users’ iTunes libraries with songs available on the iTunes Store, uploading songs that can’t be matched, and subsequently offering the users access to their entire libraries across all their computers and iOS devices anywhere they have an Internet connection. The iTunes Match beta was launched late last month, but was closed for new signups shortly afterwards.
Apple has uncharacteristically released a small update to its beta version of iTunes 10.5 for registered iOS developers. According to release notes provided to iLounge by an anonymous source, the update focuses mainly on Apple’s iTunes Match service, which remains closed for new developer sign-ups. iTunes 10.5 beta 8, as well as iWork for iOS beta 3, are available for download now from the iOS Dev Center.
Apple has promoted its vice president of Internet services Eddy Cue to the position of Senior Vice President of Internet Software and Services. According to his Apple Press bio, Cue will be reporting directly to Apple CEO Tim Cook, and his duties will include overseeing the iTunes Store, App Store, and iBookstore, as well as iAd and iCloud services. In an email to Apple employees announcing the move, Cook credited Cue with playing a major role in the launch of the Apple online store in 1998, the iTunes Music Store in 2003, and the App Store in 2008; the complete email is available at 9to5Mac.
Apple has made a beta version of its new iTunes Match cloud music service available to developers. The service, announced in June, allows users to pay $25 a year for the ability to match songs on their personal library with songs in the iTunes Store library—and upload any songs that can’t be matched—for cloud access from any Mac or iOS device. The service limits the total number of songs at 25,000, and iTunes Store purchases do not count against that total. In the email announcing the beta release, Apple states that beta subscribers will receive an additional three months free with their paid 12 month subscription, and advises users to maintain a local backup of their iTunes library, as well as any music they upload to iCloud. “Apple will periodically reset your iCloud library during the beta and it is critical that you backup your music regularly,” the email states. “Some features and optimizations of iTunes Match will not be available during the beta.” In support of the service, Apple has released iTunes 10.5 beta 6.1, which is now available to registered developers from the iOS Dev Center.
Insanely Great Mac has posted a video walkthrough of the new service showing that it is capable of not only allowing for downloads to iOS devices—which is how the company’s current “iTunes in the Cloud” service works—but also streaming, integrating the customer’s iTunes Match library into the Music application, and letting the user choose between downloading or streaming each song. Apple is expected to officially launch iTunes Match later this fall. [via Mac Rumors]
Update: Apple has posted a notice on the iTunes Match signup page noting that “beta testing has begun with an initial set of developers. Over the next days, we will continue to expand our testing.”
Update x2: Apple has informed AllThingsD that the new iTunes Match service isn’t technically streaming songs, but is instead offering a simultaneous listen and download feature that, on the surface, appears quite similar to streaming.
Guided Ways has released an update to its iOS productivity app 2Do noting the addition of support for syncing with iCloud calendars, one of the first apps on the App Store to advertise compatibility with Apple’s as-yet-unreleased new online service. The release notes indicate “OTA CalDAV support for iCloud” noting that the existing in-app purchase for MobileMe support will also work with iCloud when iOS 5.0 is released later this year. Announced in June at Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference, iCloud promises to be a free replacement for Apple’s MobileMe service and has been in closed beta for iOS and Mac Developers over the past few months. The full iCloud service is expected to be released to the general public this fall along with the release of iOS 5.
Apple has taken its MobileMe to iCloud migration tool online for registered developers, and has also revealed more information pertaining to how the transition will be handled. 9 to 5 Mac reports that the tool, found at mobileme.com/move, lets developers migrate their mail, contact, bookmark, and calendar data from MobileMe to iCloud, leaving behind data relating to the sync of Mac Dashboard widgets, dock items, keychains, mail accounts, rules, signatures, smart mailboxes, and preferences. In a separate report, Mac Rumors states that current MobileMe users will be automatically signed up for the 20GB + 5GB free tier plan in iCloud—normally a $40/year plan—at no extra charge, and are automatically signed up for recurring billing with the next payment date shown as June 30, 2012—the same day MobileMe shuts down. Apple is expected to officially launch iCloud alongside iOS 5 this fall.
Apple has launched a beta version of its online tools for iCloud at iCloud.com, and has also announced pricing for the service. The online tools include revised versions of Mail, Calendar, and Contacts, with a “Find My iPhone” button that currently sends users back to me.com, and an iWork button that sends users to an Apple developer site where, if registered as a paid developer, they can download pre-release versions of Pages, Keynote, and Numbers that work with iCloud’s “Documents in the Cloud” service. In regards to pricing, Apple’s website states that all users get 5GB of free storage, but should they need more, 10GB of extra storage will be available for $20 per year, 20GB will run $40 per year, and 50GB of additional storage will cost $100 a year. Notably, purchase music, apps, books, and the user’s Photo Stream do not count against the 5GB total. Apple is expected to launch iCloud for all users this fall. [via Ars Technica]
Apple has posted a new frequently asked questions (FAQ) article regarding the transition from MobileMe to iCloud. The document confirms that users will be able to access iCloud Mail, Contacts, Calendars, and Find My iPhone via the web at icloud.com after the service launches this fall. It also states that users will be able to keep their current .me or .mac email addresses, and move their MobileMe mail, contacts, calendars, and bookmarks to the new service, with further details to come once the iCloud service comes online. iWeb publishing, MobileMe Gallery, and iDisk services will not be available in iCloud, according to the FAQ; those services will be available until the June 30, 2012 MobileMe shutdown date.
John Herbold, former Senior Product Manager for the iCloud team at Apple, has left the company to join the youth health organization HealthTeacher. In a press release from HealthTeacher, Herbold is credited with playing a key role in the creation, development, and launch of iCloud, and for leading the development of the service’s Photo Stream feature. Herbold will serve as Vice President of Product at HealthTeacher.
“To dramatically bend the curve on youth health, we must create engaging and innovative experiences that make good health cool and aspirational—all while encouraging kids to move beyond the screen and be more active,” said John Herbold. “HealthTeacher is already playing a significant role in improving youth health through its work with teachers and schools. I look forward to leading the effort to enhance digital engagement that will equip our youth for a more successful future.” He added on his LinkedIn profile, “I’ve been fortunate enough to define, ship and market a variety of products for one of the world’s most admired product companies. That opportunity was a great privilege. Now I get to take that experience and apply it to the enormous challenge of materially improving youth health.” [via 9 to 5 Mac]
A company named iCloud Communications has filed suit against Apple, alleging infringement over the name of the company’s new iCloud service. The Next Web reports that iCloud Communications is claiming Apple’s heavy promotion of the new service is damaging to its business, which it contends are closely related to the services that Apple’s iCloud will offer. As noted by Mac Rumors, iCloud Communications does not appear to hold any registered trademarks associated with the iCloud name. The suit is seeking an injunction barring Apple from using the iCloud name, destruction of all marketing materials and other items referencing to the service, and monetary damages.