The shiny new iOS 5 will become available today but you can’t update your iDevice until you download the latest version of iTunes which is available right now.
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 folks at Apple are busy rolling out new features such as today’s release of iOS 5 and iTunes. What feature are you most excited about testing out – iCloud? Siri? Let us know in the comments below!