Sunday, December 18, 2011

ITunes Match: what is it and how does it work?

iTunes Match is running and you will not have had the good surprise to see it happen in France. As announced by Apple this summer, the United States are served first. It is always the case when the labels are part of the ... things come to those who wait. In the meantime, here's a summary of what the Americans have discovered that night.
What is iTunes Match?

iTunes Match is one of the pillars of icloud, the new service offering in the cloud of Apple. It complements "iTunes in the Cloud." Little reminder with iTunes in the Cloud can redownload at will on their Mac or PC (provided they have iTunes), the iPad, the iPhone and iPod touch (or streaming on the Apple TV) the songs has been purchased over time from the iTunes Music Store.

iTunes Match extends this possibility to (virtually) all of your iTunes library (music and music videos). This includes clips and tracks purchased on iTunes (with the Apple ID associated with your computer), but also those encoded from a CD or those obtained by other means, Legal (purchases on other platforms like Amazon MP3 music or Spotify) or illegal.

Match iTunes will scan your iTunes library on your computer and try to reproduce it in the cloud so you can access them from other computers and devices iOS. If you have a Wi-Fi or 3G you can get your music on your iPhone for example. Note that it is possible to disable the operation via the 3G if it is limited by its package. To retrieve the piece, we tap on the icon to the right cloud title (same as in iTunes on PC).

The download progress since icloud is indicated by a gauge to how this is being done for podcasts.On can also remove songs downloaded. With a gesture of the finger, they are deleted from the iPhone and they find the icon of cloud means they are always available online. Apple speaks good download, not streaming, but it turns out - Mac / PC - which can start listening to a song without the physical recovery. In the screenshot below the selected song is played in streaming, besides the cloud icon on the right indicates that it is not present locally (in this case the icon of the cloud would have disappeared).

On iOS, any piece run is streamed to start playing as soon as possible, but in fact the file is actually downloaded and stored. And, to make it available immediately if we want to hear again.

How does it work?

The operation takes place in three stages: analysis of the iTunes library and then search for a match between your qualifications and those existing in the iTunes Store.

When iTunes in your collection falls on a piece that does not exist in the iTunes Store (or a rare title of your composition), it downloads it as is to icloud (with its cover) up to a quality of 320 kbps.

In addition, for example for lovers encoding Lossless, WAV or AIFF, iTunes will send a copy of icloud to your songs, resampled by him, in 256 kbps AAC. Clearly, you keep your iTunes in high quality piece, but you have a cloud in the 256 kbps version available for your other computers and devices.

This system is particularly interesting when you have pieces of low quality. For example, if iTunes finds a match to your old MP3 128 kbps, you will get in the cloud a brand new version in 256 kbps AAC. Then you can delete the MP3 file in iTunes and download the original version in its place AAC, which will remain in your possession even after you canceled your subscription iTunes Match. A faculty that has led some to say that Apple "whitened" sort of pirated songs. However, as MacRumors points out rightly, the fact that Apple provide you with a "white" version of some of your pieces acquired by the back door does not make them legitimate, however. You remain responsible for how you got them first.

One can also mention if you have old songs purchased from Apple, and even with their DRM. You will be returned by icloud as 256 kbps AAC files without DRM, playable on Mac or PC further unauthorized.

Another good point, metadata added by you to pieces are preserved even when the local file is replaced with the version obtained icloud. Any changes to the metadata locally (even if the change of a song title) is synchronized with the cloud. If you already have the previous version of the title on an iPhone, it will not change, but if you delete and redownload it is the updated version of its metadata to be sent.

Each time you encode a CD, iTunes Match recovery process to try to find a match on the Store. If you delete a song in an iTunes library when iTunes Match is enabled, the warning given the option to delete it also icloud. And so, otherwise, the leave if you change your mind later and we want it back.

In short, any piece of cleared icloud is also on IOS devices, but not computers automatically. By default, the Music application in IOS will show you your entire collection: local pieces as pieces in the cloud. If you are traveling without a network connection, icloud will not help you. An option in the settings iOS then allows hiding the music available only online. We have the eyes and the pieces actually stored locally and legible at all times.

In a fact sheet, Apple lists the various small icons of clouds that can cross into iTunes and their meanings: ineligible files (above) file that was deleted on icloud (he was immediately iOS devices but as a precaution it should be done manually on the Mac and PC, see above); error during the transfer; find duplicate song in iTunes and that should be corrected to be treated and finally the dotted cloud icon indicating that the treatment is ongoing.

What are the limitations?

Match iTunes works to a limit of 25,000 pieces. In this quota are not counted the songs purchased from iTunes. Somehow Apple has decided that ceiling (we expect that the statistics collected by the Genius feature of iTunes was used). It will be too keen on just for some music or more than enough for others. Time will tell whether, as with hard drives, the rated capacity increases over the years.

The pieces of very low quality (96 kbps or even less) are not supported, nor those of 200 MB or more.

As it is impossible to choose lists or pieces that can take advantage of iTunes Match. Otherwise, as explained Macworld US, it takes a little tinkering. Create a second iTunes library devoted to Match and iTunes will only drag songs and albums you want to submit. The disadvantage is that you must switch to the launch of iTunes between either of these collections depending on what you want to do.

How much?

24.99 euros per year.

What software and hardware compatible?

In addition to a requirement to reside temporarily in the U.S., iTunes Match needs to have iTunes on OS X 10.5.1 Lion, iOS 5.0.1 on an iPhone 3G or iPod touch 3G/4G minimum or iPad. And for the PC will need Windows Vista to a minimum.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.