About an hour after releasing iTunes 10.5 to the general public, Apple has already provided developers with a beta of iTunes 10.5.1 with support for iTunes match in order to continue their testing of the service.
In addition to the iTunes Match compatibility, iTunes 10.5.1 beta includes performance enhancements and bug fixes, and is an absolute requirement for any developer with a subscription to iTunes Match. As with prior versions of iTunes testing iTunes Match, Apple makes it clear that iCloud libraries will be deleted at the end of the beta period.
iTunes Match was originally planned to launch alongside iOS 5 and iCloud, but Apple announced at last week’s iPhone media event that it would not launch until the end of October, as they are still resolving minor issues with the service.
iTunes Match is a $24.99/year service that matches users music libraries with Apple’s own iTunes database, increasing the quality of their existing music files to 256kbps bit-rate, and making those songs accessible from any iCloud-enabled device linked with that user’s iTunes account.