Monday, as promised, Apple rolled out their new
iTunes/Cloud software. According to preliminary reports iCloud will only store
and support music that HAS BEEN PURCHASED THROUGH ITUNES. The audiophile view
of this – it sucks.
By nixing CDs ripped into iTunes Apple has finally
violated one of the things they have always done right in the past – backwards
compatibility. By making iCloud so iTunes-centric Apple has reduced its allure
to serious music-lovers to almost zero.
Apple claims that “iTunes Match” a $24.99 per year service
will let users duplicate their entire library, ripped CDs and all, as long as
they’re in the iTunes store’s catalog. So anyone with obscurantist musical
tastes will be out of luck as well as $25 more dollars. As a Mobile Me user
(don’t guffaw too loudly) I’ll probably be shunted into this service
automatically. And I’ll be happy to report on the transition…
As for Hi-Def music, not a word was spoken. The only
references to bit rates was that the cloud would be saved at 256 Kbps. That’s a
decent bit-rate but it sure ain’t high-rez. Also several knowledgeable sources have indicated that the iCloud is not a streaming media source but a file saving and retrieval system. It will receive, store, and send files, be they music or other data to your mobile source for use by that source’s own rendering software and hardware.
And if you’re waiting for a high-rez cloud, please, for the
sake of your lungs, don’t hold your breath…