iCloud iTunes Match has streaming uncertainty

On Tuesday Pocket-lint reported on the fact that iTunes 10.5 beta 6.1 seemed to bring with it iTunes Match streaming from iCloud, rather than just the download-only option that the awaiting fanboys were expecting.

Well, don't get your streaming hopes up just yet, as an AllThingsD report seems to squash any suggestions that Apple is about to enter the streaming market.

It quotes an Apple spokesperson as stating that any digital music you want from your iCloud-stored collection still must be physically stored on your iPad or iPhone - suggesting that the stream option is more of a stream and download one.

So, rather than simply streaming the song using just your web connection and using up no storage space on your iDevice, the "stream" option would begin to play instantly (or, at least, once it had downloaded enough of the file) but continue to download to a temporary cache folder on your Apple machine.

Storage space would therefore still be a consideration - although it's not clear if there would be a time-frame set by Apple for its devices to flush this stored streaming cache.

There are said to be a couple of reasons why Apple won't go fully streaming. The first being that it is apparently concerned that the networks would let users down, and mean a stuttering playback - hardly matching Apple's slick ethos - and the second being that Apple is keen to distinguish a different service, one based on a physical digital media rather than a remote one, than its rivals such as Google and Amazon seem keen to promote.

"Apple’s platform is all about these files on their devices, that have incredibly great playback experience for the consumer," said AllThingsD's anonymous music exec source. "The other cloud version, the Google version, of playback on any device on the cloud - they’re not interested in that. Apple isĀ using the cloud to fix and advance their ecosystem."

So it's not exactly full stream ahead for Apple... not yet at least.

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