Steve Jobs Unveils iCloud, iTunes Match

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Apple’s iCloud is introduced free, but iTunes match may cost about $25 per year for 5GB of space.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs has briefly emerged from medical leave to unveil a new service for his i-devices. The iCloud will store user information from several devices, like the iPhone and iPad, and make it available on all of them.

Apple iCloud aims to improve and streamline sync capabilities across Apple’s variety of connected devices. A user takes a picture on an iPhone, it is automatically uploaded to the cloud and then pushed to other devices without requiring any action by the user.

iTunes in the Cloud is free as part of song purchases and available today in beta form for iOS 4.3 users with a final version ready for iOS 5. iTunes Match will need the rumored $25 yearly fee for 5GB of space and will initially only be available in the US.

Apple also launched iTunes Match, its cloud music service. Separate from iCloud, the iTunes Match service matches up a listener’s songs with iTunes’ collections and gives access to 256Kbps AAC streaming versions, even if the bitrate is lower on the original source. Songs it doesn’t find are still uploaded and create a full match for an iTunes collection that can then stream to iOS, iTunes, and other devices.

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