iTunes in the Cloud and iTunes Match announced

iTunes in the Cloud and iTunes...
iTunes in the Cloud
iTunes in the Cloud
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iTunes in the Cloud
iTunes in the Cloud

Amongst countless other announcements in Apple's WWDC keynote today came official details on the long expected cloudification of iTunes. The famous "one last thing" this year was iTunes Match, which finally utilizes the scan and match technology Apple gained with its acquisition of Lala in late 2009.

Previously, if you bought music on your iPhone, you had to use the "Transfer Purchases" function of iTunes to pull the files back into iTunes, and then sync them onto your other devices. Now, up to 10 of your devices can be configured to have new music purchases pushed directly to them, or you can finally use a purchase history to do so manually.

Useful, but it's iTunes Match which is the real game changer.

For $24.99 a year, iTunes will scan all the music in your library (well, up to 25,000 files) and give you DRM-free 256Kbps AAC versions of those files. There's 18 million songs in the iTunes library, so most of your library will be in there (unless you sport a neckbeard and ride a fixie), and you can upload the ones that aren't.

Steve specifically mentioned that the service would work with ripped CDs, but we'd be surprised if your two terabyte collection of torrented music didn't work too.

A beta of iTunes in the Cloud will be released today, with iTunes Match available this fall.

Is this the beginning of the post-piracy era? Could anyone other than Apple have pulled this off? Feel free to sound off in the comments.

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