UPDATE: Apple has quietly launched iTunes Match. The new version of iTunes provides support for the service - and you can download it here. Although it might be smart to wait a few hours, as the service is already oversubscribed.
It appears that we are getting closer to the official launch of the iTunes Match service, as Apple has just released another beta to developers.
iTunes Match, the $25-a-year subscription service from Apple that "matches" a user's iTunes music with a high-quality version in the cloud (so that it's accessible anywhere), was scheduled for a late October release - but has obviously been delayed.
MacRumors reports that Apple has released iTunes 10.5.1 beta 3 to developers, and it contains stability improvements that are said to benefit the iTunes Match service.
From the beta update:
iTunes 10.5.1 beta 3 includes a number of important stability and performance improvements for iTunes Match, and is a required update for all subscribers to iTunes Match beta.
Backup regularly and do not delete the music you add to iCloud from your computer. Apple may periodically delete all iCloud libraries during the beta period. This will require you to scan, match, and upload songs again
Currently, these developers are the only users with access to iTunes Match. These developers have seen Apple delete their iTunes Match libraries on a number of occasions in order to facilitate the testing - and this update is no different. Apple reminds devs that their iTunes Match music is never really safe and that they should always have backups stored to their computers.
So it looks like stability is the big reason for the delay. These beta releases with "stability and performance" updates, as well as Apple's wording in the announcement emails suggest that the iTunes Match launch shouldn't be too far away.
Are you going to sign up for the service? Let us know in the comments.