Despite the fact that iCloud appears to be letting people actually stream their music (as in, not download the file, but still listen), it’s no wonder that the general public is confused about whether or not Apple’s telling the truth when they say that iCloud will not be a “streaming” service.
Currently users with developer accounts are able to use the iTunes matching service to both upload and re-download their tracks through iTunes. The iTunes beta being used by developers scans your library for music, matches the contents to what’s on iTunes, and then gets linked up to a snazzy 256bps iTunes Plus track that is stored on Apple’s iTunes servers. Should a song not match, iTunes will upload your version to the cloud, and it will be available in the future for your consumption.
But here’s where things get sticky. Users are able to re-download their music at any time. Clicking a button in iTunes will let you redownload the track from iCloud, just like Apple has explained; however, tapping on the track name will play the song, without actually downloading it to your device (iPhone, iPad, etc). Most would classify that as streaming, in some capacity, but Apple is saying that clicking on the track doesn’t actually stream the track; instead, it’s a simultaneous listen and download.
Something tells us that this might not be the last we have heard about streaming in iCloud. Apple’s been vague about it from the beginning, and we have a sneaking suspicion (based on nothing) that Apple is likely still negotiating streaming rights with the major labels. Apple has probably built streaming into iCloud, but can’t say they’re rolling it out until they actually have the proper rights to roll it out.
Either that, or it’s going to be a huge surprise when iCloud is rolled out later this year.
Being in Canada I can’t actually test this, but have any of you noticed that it is actually a simultaneous download and play? Does clicking on the title actually download the song to your iPhone or iPad? Let us know below.
What do you think? Will we actually see streaming at launch? Let us know in the comments