Apple has released the first beta version of iTunes Match, its new cloud-based music service that promise to take the weight off your iPhone 5′s internal storage. We now have a much better idea of how it will work – read on for more info.
iPhone 5 and iCloud
When Apple revealed its iCloud service atWWDC 2011, one of the most interesting prospects was having your entire music collection stored in the cloud, which you would then be able to pick from on your iPhone 5 as and when you wanted the tracks. Given that Apple seems reluctant to offer us the 64GB iPhone we all want, this looked to be the perfect alternative.

However, it seemed as if Apple was only going to offer us half the service we wanted. While you could match your record collection with those stored on Apple’s iTunes servers, and even upload those records that weren’t, it appeared as if Apple wasn’t going to allow you to stream this music from the (i)cloud.
At a time when Spotify is doing big business with its ability to stream music to your mobile, this seemed like a bit of a miss-step – and a missed opportunity.
Fear not! The newly released iTune Match beta shows that Apple is on top of things, as (nearly) always. You will indeed be able to stream tracks from iTunes to your iPhone 5 (whatever form it takes). Insanely Great Mac recently ran a couple of video showcasing the new iTunes Match service – here’s how it works.
YOU SHOULD READ — iPhone 5 release date – what the experts say

iTunes Match made in heaven
For just $25 a year iTunes will read your entire iTunes record collection. That’s everything you’ve bought through iTunes and everything else – so tracks bought from rival services like Amazon or 7digital, songs you’ve ripped onto your computer from a CD and even those some of you might have obtained from ‘other means’. You know who you are.

In this way, you’ll be able to access your entire record collection from any web-connected device registered to your iTunes account. That could be your desktop computer, your laptop, your iPad 2and – soon – your iPhone 5.
Now, when you go into your Music app you’ll see music that’s been registered through iTunes Match and stored in the cloud alongside any stuff you have stored locally on your iPhone 5. The only way you’ll be able to tell the difference is that iCloud tracks will have a little iCloud logo alongside them.
You can download such tracks to your iPhone with a simple tap of this iCloud icon, which is handy if you’re about to go out and about and don’t fancy putting your network connection under any undue strain. Alternatively, you can just tap the track and it’ll stream sweet music to your iPhone 5 as if it were already sat in storage. Simple and seamless – as you’d expect from Apple.
Music to our ears
iTune Match promises to make the process of listening to music on your iPhone 5 (or iPhone 4) a whole lot more flexible.

You won’t have to clog your device up with tracks you only listen to once in a blue moon just so that you have them to hand – they’ll all be stored in the cloud for whenever you need them. When you do, you’ll be able to stream them or download them directly – even if you didn’t buy those tracks through iTunes.
Roll on October when iPhone 5, iOS 5 and iTunes Match will arrive to set our music collections free.