If like me you are suffering from iTunes mess (nay.. hell), yesterday's iCloud announcement from Apple promises to clean up your mess and confusion. It might even make you like iTunes again.
If like me you've bought tracks from Apple's music store on multiple devices, you almost certainly have those tracks and apps spread haphazardly across your devices. Buy a new Mac or iPhone and your problems worsen. You end up with music on your old laptop or iPod, and it's infuriatingly complicated to get it on the new one. I'm a complete Mac geek and I am totally confused by it.
In my collection (spread across several devices) I know I have a mix of paid tracks which I feel good about, and a bunch of MP3's which I don't. The MP3's are mis-labeled and dis-organized, don't have artwork images for them and are quite annoying.
Trying to sync them all together, or sort them out IS ACTUALLY ROCKET SCIENCE.
The truth is, iTunes is terribly un-Mac like and bloody awful software. It just doesn't work the way you want it to, or think it should, and it has completely floundered in an era of multiple devices and any desire (gee whiz!) to consolidate.
With iCloud, for the first time you will be able to log into your Apple account from any Apple device, see a list of every track you've ever purchased, re-download the entire collection if needed, and do the same on all your Apple devices. You can even choose to download just the songs you don't already have on that device.
Where things gets really clever is that for $25 per year, iCloud will scan your collection of non-Apple purchased tracks (read... pirated MP3's) and for no extra cost, download and replace those dodgy tracks with fresh perfect Apple ones - complete with professional artwork, proper labeling, consistent genre tagging and a high quality audio upgrade too.
This is actually revolutionary and Apple have paid big for the privilege.
The devil of course will be in some of the details... Can you for example merge the music from two people's accounts? What happens if a device doesn't have as much storage space as the others?
Apple are also increasing the 5 device limit per Apple account to 10 devices. This is clear acknowledgment that many people are already hitting their 5 device limit as the number of iPod's, iPhones and iPads proliferate in people's households.
iCloud comes to Apple users later this year... I can't wait.