Apple misses iTunes Match target: iTunes developer beta expires

Apple has missed its target of releasing iTunes Match by the 'end of October', leaving many developers with access to the unreleased iTunes locked out of the expired software.

Apple, which announced iTunes Match earlier this year, has missed its target of releasing the music-matching service by the end of October in the United States.

Developers have been left angry, and end-users frustrated, after the highly anticipated service failed to launch within the prescribed timeframe.

To add insult to injury, those with access to the iTunes Match-installed version of iTunes 10.5.1 found that the software expired this morning, disabling access to iTunes altogether.

(Source: Apple/CNET)

Sources close to Apple have reportedly said that retail store staff have been briefed on the service in light of its imminent arrival, but with little sign of the service, a launch seems even further away into November.

Apple Developer sent out an email to testers and software builders late last week, signalling a possible launch over the weekend or yesterday -- still within the timeframe of the 'end of October'. Apple confirmed the timeframe at the iPhone 4S launch on October 4th.

iTunes Match libraries are routinely wiped as part of the beta service. Yet with the end of the month rapidly approaching, this led many -- including yours truly -- to believe that the service would be released within the set out timeframe.

Apple has yet to comment on the delayed launch.

While it is rare for the Cupertino-based company to miss a launch date, it is not the first time Apple has allowed software or services to reach users later than planned.

The UK and mainland Europe is yet to see iTunes Match to arrive, with a delay until early next year, as a result of ongoing license agreements with the music industry.

iTunes Match is part of Apple's 'iTunes in the Cloud' movement, which matches your existing music libraries with better quality content, if it is available in the iTunes Store. Costing $24.99 per year, it has been seen by many as way to 'legitimise' one's music collection.