It's been a long time coming, but Apple has finally debuted its cloud-based iTunes Match developer beta -- including the ability to stream songs. "So, essentially, [users] will have instant access to [their] entire music library from all of [their] Macs, iPhones, iPads, or iPod touches for only $25/year," MacRumors writes.
"What Apple failed to mention is, as its competitors feared, that iTunes ‘in the cloud' will support music streaming as well as downloading," ZDNet notes. "The cloud-based iTunes service will replace low quality music with a higher bitrate, and legitimise your pirate music collection."
"That one feature sets Apple up to play hardball with Google Music Beta and Amazon Cloud Player in the future," The Washington Post assumes. "With the triple threat of the iTunes store, streaming music and the convenience of automatically uploading customer libraries, iTunes in the Cloud has become a more formidable foe ... It now matches the convenience of a service like Spotify or Rdio, for a little over $2 per month."
Regarding Apple's silence on Match's streaming option, Time.com's Jared Newman writes: "My guess is that Apple was still negotiating streaming rights with record labels when the company announced iTunes Match in June, and didn't want to make any promises without the rights in place."
"So, is iTunes Match a Spotify killer?" asks 9to5mac.com. "Most certainly not, as Spotify for iOS devices and Macs has more compelling features and a stronger emphasis on the social component," it answers, adding: "But make no mistake, Apple has big plans for iCloud."
Indeed, as Mashable points out: "Apple's strong relationship with the labels gives it a distinct advantage though as it prepares to push iCloud to the masses."