Apple has just pushed out iTunes 10.5, in preparation for the wider iOS 5 release on Wednesday.
iTunes 10.5 will not only allow iPhone, iPad and iPod touch users to upgrade to the latest version of iOS, it also provides access to iCloud services like iTunes in the Cloud.
iTunes 10.5 has been in beta since June, so users can be forgiven for not understanding what the big deal is. For anyone who hasn’t upgraded to various 10.5 betas, however, the biggest news — aside from iOS 5-readiness — is that you can now download previous purchases of TV shows or music from the iTunes directly onto their Mac, PC or iOS device.
By default, you can also choose to have purchased content automatically delivered to all of your devices. That means that when you buy an album on your phone, it will download on your computer and your iPad.
When iOS 5 is released Wednesday, you’ll also get the option of wirelessly syncing your iOS devices to iTunes over Wi-Fi. You will also be able to opt for iCloud-based backups.
One iTunes in the Cloud feature isn’t quite ready for consumption: iTunes Match. It’s Apple’s new service that allows you to upload purchased (or “acquired”) music elsewhere to iCloud for access on other devices. Content that Apple finds in its existing library is simply linked automagically and songs not in Apple’s repository are uploaded from your hard drive.
The service is $24.99 a year for 25,000 songs (not including your iTunes purchases) and is currently in beta. iTunes 10.5 will support iTunes Match as soon as the feature is ready for full release.
You can download iTunes 10.5 directly from Apple, or simply check Software Update in Mac OS X or iTunes for Windows.
The Amazon Kindle Fire is not the only 7-inch Android tablet making its debut this week. The Samsung Galaxy Tab family of products is adding a mid-range, compact device called the Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus.
It’s powered by a 1.2 GHz dual-core CPU paired with Android 3.2 Honeycomb and 1 GB of RAM. It sports a 7-inch, 1024×600 pixel screen and comes with 16 GB or 32 GB of storage space and a 3-megapixel camera (plus a 2-megapixel one on the front for video chats).
On the connectivity front, it supports Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 3.0 as well as 3G/HSPA, and Samsung managed to squeeze all of the above into a case that’s 9.96 mm thin and weighs 345 g.
The device’s specifications are slightly weaker than those of its closest of kin, the Galaxy Tab 7.7, which Samsung officially unveiled a month ago at the IFA trade show in Berlin.
A key piece of information about the Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus is, however, still missing: its price.
The device is very interesting when compared to Amazon’s Wi-Fi-enabled Kindle Fire, which lacks a camera, but costs $199. If Samsung manages to keep the price of its latest tablet within $100 of the Fire, it could be an interesting contender in the increasingly crowded 7-inch tablet space.
Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus will arrive in Indonesia and Austria at the end of October, followed by a gradual rollout to the U.S., Europe and the rest of the world.