Apple iTunes Match Out for iTunes 10.5.1, Today’s Bumpy Release

Written by Gina Smith

Two weeks late, Apple delivers iTunes Match for its iCloud and Apple iTunes 10.5.1, released for download this morning. Apple took the download links and menu items down a half hour later, citing excessive traffic. Here’s the skinny.

Today Apple announced and began to release iTunes 10.5.1 along with the iTunes Match feature, the latter demoed on stage by Steve Jobs at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in June. According to Apple , iTunes Match — announced earlier this year — is a $25 a year service that lets you store purchased or ripped music and play it on any Apple computer or mobile device or any PC running Windows. There’s no syncing required.

At this writing, though, iTunes Match no longer appears on my iTunes screen. Apple did set up a download site but, within an hour that too was down. Apple blames excessive traffic. The direct download site, at least, should be up again in a few hours, Apple said. UPDATE: Several customers now report the update is back up, but it has yet to be available on my PC running iTunes as an app in Windows 7.

But why the rush?

The iTunes Match feature is a couple of weeks late in arriving, anyway. If you’re not racing to get this feature, due originally in October, you might want to wait even a little longer to make sure the download is hassle-free.

According to Jobs at WWDC, iTunes Match works by matching your collection with songs it already has in its store and iCloud– more than 20 million. Once it’s up on iCloud, Apple says playback will be at 256-Kbps AAC DRM-free quality. That’s better than a lot of original MP3 songs people own.

To get iTunes Match — so far it isn’t visible on my screen and it looks like Apple might’ve paused that feature for at east this morning PT– you download and install iTunes 10.5.1 and select iTunes Match from the left-most side of the screen. More on this and a review on iTunes Match later this week. At this writing, noon PT Monday Nov. 14, 2011, Apple reverted its menu to say 10.5 was the latest version. We’ll follow this for you.