November has arrived, but iTunes Match has not

Apple (s aapl) announced at its iPhone 4S event that iTunes Match would launch by “late October,” but that self-imposed deadline has come and gone, and consumers have yet to gain access to the service. ITunes Match provides iTunes users the ability to access their entire library in the cloud for a yearly subscription fee, and it’s been in testing with developers since August.

Even developers are running into problems accessing the service, however, since the version of the iTunes 10.5.1 beta that makes it possible to scan and upload your library is now expired, reports Dan Moren on Twitter. Apple, which wipes the library of prerelease Match users on occasion, did so most recently last Thursday, so some developers could be stuck without any service at all. Apple has made the trial period not part of the actual paid subscription that developers sign up for, however (time starts when the service actually launches), so it’s not like they’re being financially inconvenienced.

This isn’t the first time Apple’s missed an announced launch date, but it is rare that Apple will come out and say publicly that a product will ship at a certain time and then miss that window. More often, the company keeps product plans and release time lines extremely vague until it can guarantee a release.

The recent wiping of the developer Match libraries and the lapse of the beta expiry both point to a fairly imminent release, however, and I would expect Apple to either speak up soon about a revised time line or just launch the product itself. From what I’ve seen of Match (and it’s been a while now), the service looks fairly close to being ready for public use.

We contacted Apple for comment on the delay and will report back if and when we hear more.