Two Weeks Late, iTunes Match and iTunes 10.1 Finally Go Live For Everyone! [Update]

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Two weeks late, Apple’s match-and-mirror music in the cloud service iTunes Match has finally launched while retaining its beta status. In the meantime, iTunes 10.5.1 for both Windows and Mac has been released, so get downloading if you intend on using iTunes Match.

On Mac, the iTunes 10.5.1 update is 102MB, and is available now on the official iTunes homepage or through Software Update.

iTunes Match is Apple’s much anticipated cloud music service. For $24.99 a year, users can match any of the songs on their hard drive into the cloud to be redownloadable on any iOS or Mac device in 256Kbps AAC CD quality, even if their original track was of much lower quality.

iTunes Match is launching as a beta service. However, for subscribing to iTunes Match Beta, we hear you get 15 months of service instead of just 12. Not a bad deal, but be warned that Apple will delete your iTunes Match library at the end of the beta, meaning you’ll have to go through the matching process all over again.

Over the last few weeks, we’ve found that Apple has been having problems getting iTunes Match’s mirroring service to work reliably. We’ll report back and let you know if they’ve worked out the kinks.