As noted by MacRumors, Apple’s self-imposed end of October deadline has come and gone without the promised public launch of iTunes Match. The service will scan your local iTunes library and fingerprint songs in order to make them available for download (or was it streaming?) via iCloud to all authorized devices – for $25 a year flat fee, no strings attached. It’s unknown what’s behind this unusual setback. Could be last-minute backend issues that needed sorting out. Be that as it may, we’re keeping our fingers crossed for Tim Cook to keep a tight rein on his team now that the ultimate micro-manager is gone.

It’s worth mentioning, however, that Apple removed support for iTunes Match from the public release of iTunes 10.5 even though it’s been present in prior developer betas. iTunes Match resurfaced in iTunes 10.5.1 beta that was seeded to developers on October 11 and subsequently expired. Apple also last week sent notices informing developers their cloud libraries will get wiped out, another sign of an imminent launch.

iTunes Match beta is currently only available to developers in the United States. The rumor has it that Apple is in talks with record labels to secure necessary licenses for an international iTunes Match roll-out. The home section of the iTunes Store front-end visible in desktop iTunes still listed iTunes Match as “coming soon” at post time.

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