While I am annoyed that Apple hasn't been more forthcoming in announcing and describing how the new iTM works, and agree with many of you that it is not perfect, there is no question in my mind that the iOS 6 version of iTM is better than the iOS 5 version.
Why do I believe the iOS 6 version is superior? I'll first try to express my requirements for iTM, and then evaluate how well the two versions of iOS meet those requirements. I appreciate that my requirements may be incomplete, and that some may wish to add to them, but I'll do the best I can.
1. Load my iOS device with a "baseline" selection of music, to which I can listen at any time, regardless of available connectivity.
2. Ability to add tracks to the Baseline.
3. Ability to delete tracks from the Baseline
4. Ability to play other music in our collection on an on-demand basis, connectivity permitting. Lets call this our On-Demand Selection.
5. Ability to ration the data we use to listen to our On-Demand Selection, choosing the connectivity conditions under which we will allow ourselves to listen to the On-Demand Selection
6. Ability to monitor and control the amount of storage space that is consumed by our Permanent Selection and/or On-Demand Selection
7. Ability to identify what tracks are stored on the device at any given time. I putting this here because, from what I can gather, some people think its a requirement. I disagree, but I'll include it anyway.
So, let's apply these to the iOS 5 iTM solution:
1. Check. This could be accomplished by downloading playlists, tracks, albums, etc. Personally, I accomplished this by creating one playlist of individual tracks that I wanted, and another of albums that I wanted.
2. Check. Download the additional track, album or playlist. This has the slight disadvantage of not having a tracking mechanism, or ability to reset to the original Baseline. I found that adding the tracks to the Playlists I mentioned above was a better solution, or creating a third playlist for "temporary" inclusion in the Baseline.
3. Check-minus. Here's where things get tricky. Although it is easy to delete a particular track or album, the question of knowing what you'd like to delete (for example, to free up some space) is difficult to get at. If you use a system similar to my playlists, you can edit the playlists, but you still have to go back and delete the tracks from the device. Alternatively, you can edit the playlists, delete everything from the device, and re-download the master playlists from scratch.
4. Fail. There's no such thing as an On-Demand Selection in iOS 5. If you play it, its becoming part of your Baseline. As explained above, purging your permanent selection is a painful exercise. Particularly if you decided to put the device on Random for awhile or use a Genius playlist, going through the device to later get rid of that is very painful. Its easier to delete everything and start over. And this is the main problem with iOS 5 iTM. When I want to play something on-demand, I don't want to also be making a semi-permanent decision to allocate storage space to it, or to need to remember that I played it and delete it later.
5. Check. The "Use Cellular Data" option on cellular-equipped devices, allows you to specify whether to allow listening to your On-Demand Selection, or modifying your Baseline, over cellular connections, or only when wifi is available.
6. Fail. For reasons explained above, by creating playlists for your Baseline, you can effectively size the amount of music that you want on the device. But once you start listening to On-Demand Selection, you lose control, and its difficult to later identify what you listened to and delete it.
7. Check. Just toggle the "Show All Music" setting to show only what's on the device. Or alternatively, the cloud icon (or absence thereof) next to each track is nice.
Now, let's apply these to the iOS 6 iTM solution:
1. Check. Easily download track and albums. I have no idea why you can't download individual tracks, but in my opinion, doing so via a playlist is a reasonable method to accomplish this.
2. Check. Download an additional track or playlist. Add tracks to existing playlists, and then download. Again, the inability to download a single track natively is a bit annoying, but not a critical flaw IMO.
3. Fail. The only way to do this is to either turn off iTunes match first, or to delete everything from the device and start over. This should be fixed. There's no good reason why you shouldn't be able to delete a track or album from the device.
4. Check. Essentially what we want here is to be able to stream on-demand, without making any additional commitments. iOS 6 does this well, with the added benefit of cashing it, so as to avoid needlessly re-consuming network bandwidth if we listen to the same track again soon.
5. Check. Same as iOS 5.
6. Check. This is where iOS 6 iTM shines. By creating playlists for your Baseline, you can effectively size the amount of music that you want on the device. From there, you can play any track in your collection On-Demand without making the commitment to store it on your device. Because of the way the caching works, the tracks you listen to will not stay on the device forever. They will stay until the device needs the space for something explicit, or for new On Demand tracks. So this allows you to use the free storage space on the device without allocating it. I think this is brilliant.
7. Check. Just toggle the "Show All Music" setting to show only what's on the device. Some have been griping about the removal of the cloud icon next to the tracks. In iOS 5, this was essential, since listening to anything but your Baseline implied a commitment to store the tracks, with no elegant way to later remove them. In iOS 6, its really not an issue, since you're making no such commitment merely by playing the track. You can still make the decision to explicitly download an album, playlist or track (via a playlist), essentially adding it to your Baseline.
In summary, the lack of a distinction in iOS 5 between Baseline and On-Demand, in my opinion, made it almost unusable. Listening to anything not already stored on the devices simply came with too many strings attached. The iOS 6 version fixes that, and simply provides an overall superior (albeit flawed) overall usability experience. Some here seem to want much greater micromanagement capabilities. While I understand that, the reality is that most of us want an easy to use solution that meets our requirements; we don't want to spend our time managing what's on the device. To those who fall into the micromanagement camp, I humbly suggest that you re-evaluate your platform. Apple has never been the platform of micro-management and unlimited customization. It's the platform of ease-of-use, of not needing to know so much about how it works, of it-just-works. And in that sense iTM in iOS 6 is a better product.
@galevin How do you get that baseline selection? To me, this is one of the biggest problems. I am often at places where wifi or fast cellular are not available so having a downloaded set that I can count on and add to is essential. The fastest would be to drag and drop from a connected computer itunes library. Quick and easy, but not allowed in iOS 6. So, instead, I set up a synced playlist and download on the device. The first time I did this it took hours (~1000 songs). The second time it totally crapped my iphone and required a full restore. It would be so doggone nice if apple would just allow drag and drop along with ITM downloads, streaming, caching ... whatever one wants to call it. So, do you have any tricks for getting your baseline loaded?
In iTunes on computer, Goto store menu turn off iTunes Match. Then go back to store menu and now you can turn off genius. Then on phone also turn off match via settings / music. Now connect phone to desktop and sync music to phone. Sorry no links but I found this from researching similar issues recently. I'm traveling and just have iphone so can't retrace where I read it try google or forum search for turn off genius, iTunes Match ios6 download songs.
Hope the helps.
It's all just such a palava though. I turned off my autosubscription to iTM and yesterday switched off Match altogether. The night before i'd switched it off and switched it back on again and it took several attempts of doing this before my phone would show me any of my cloud based music. I decided i'd had enough and yesterday went back to the old way of connecting my phone to my Mac and i have to say it felt so much better than Match under iOS6.
I would pay good money to go back to iOS5 for a number of reasons. Please Apple, restore my faith at the iPad Mini launch today.
I have no problems with IOS6 and my Iphone 5, ipad 3rd gen. Yes, I do like IOS 6. Unlike some, the turn by turn navigation works great here in Northern Virginia, I have seen no local issues with maps. With IOS 6 and iphone 5 LTE, I have a fantastic system in my Acura TL, using a Belkin Bluetooth CarConnect, and Siri. Every time I give a ride to a new passenger they are amazed with Siri and the ability to have so much music available instantly.
However, I understand many are not having the pleasant experience that I am, and I hope that in the future whatever is contributing to these failures is identified, and an update released.
Until IOS 6 and Iphone 5 LTE, I had issues with iTunes Match. Missing artwork, missing songs in playlists, and most annoying the delay and constant pausing while streaming. I assume that the reasoning for the increase in stability in my case, is a combination of AT&T LTE coverage in the area where I live/commute, the Iphone 5, and the way in which I utilize this app and data.
Good luck to all who are still having issues.
You're wrong on two points. 1) with iOS 5 I could stream without downloading the track to my device. It depending on if I tapped the track name or the little cloud icon. Sometimes it would downloaded when I didn't want it to but most often it streamed which was the purpose of iCloud! 2) iOS 6.0 freezes up EVERY time I try to play a track it eventually unfreezes after a while but is can't pause or change tracks while it is frozen (but can can use other apps). Maybe it's because I have over 100G of music in match but this is not working. Period. iOS 6 came out way too soon and we all know it. What frustrates me and others is that Grandpa Apple has been silent so long regarding our numerous complaints. Under Steve this would have been fixed already! Apple is make a long line of poor decisions since Steve's passing and it will open the market up for other companies, android, galaxy, etc. to steel customers. Who with a 4S feels used buy buying one (which ***** compared to the 4) and then the 5 is released and all of this mess blows back. Absolute nightmare!
I can't speak for others, but, SiRI is very useful in my car audio system.
I push the button on Belkin, have SIrI play any specific song, any specific playlist, and even though none of the data is stored in my iphone 5, it begins to stream immediately, and flawlessly. When zipping in and out of traffic at rush hour, it is much easier than staring at my iphone screen, and trying to find that one song that the passenger just requested. Since I didn't bother with the 4S, I had no experience with SIRI until integration with the Belkin CarConnect. I don't use SIRI for any other application other than selecting songs and playlists, and very rarely responding to a text while driving.
In fact, since I integrated my Iphone 5 into my Acura, I have not removed my iphone from my front pocket when driving,... No fumbling around, sending a text to the wrong person, or nearly hitting grannie cause I'm staring at the screen looking for that foofighters cd-5 import,.. Etc etc.
I could care less about any sports scores, or what movie is at the multiplex, and already know where the good restaurants are. So those aspects of Siri are trivial and useless to me,.. I could agree that they are gimmicky. But with everything in life, use what benefits you, and don't worry about the rest.