Apple rebrands iTunes, but the piece of software almost everyone hates will still be around in spirit
Image/Photo Credit: Apple
Apple has announced the end of the iTunes app for Mac and iOS devices, but the divisive iTunes software will stay alive on Windows PCs. And contrary to rumours, Apple will not be ceasing support for downloads in favour of streaming, with the iTunes store still "just a click away".
The rumour mill started working overtime last week when many sources suggested that Apple will be officially retiring iTunes at the 2019 Apple Worldwide Developers Conference, which started today in San Jose, California. Most of the narrative focused on the death of downloads due to the rise of streaming, a narrative that is certainly truer than not in 2019. Speculation then did the rest, with many fearing their carefully curated music downloads will no longer be supported, and that Apple will no longer support downloads and force all users to subscribe to Apple Music in order to get their music fix. The era of music ownership was at an end, some said.
Instead, as revealed during WWDC, it was less a retirement of iTunes and more a rebranding, although the shifting focus towards streaming is real, and has been real for some time now.
The iTunes app will now be split into three distinct apps serving three distinct customer bases, Music, Podcasts and Television. The functionality of iTunes would be split into these three apps and combined, they would have no fewer features than the current iTunes app, and will have more in the future as each app can now be better designed to cater for their respective user bases.
As for Apple's poorly design choice to use iTunes for every piece of interaction users have between their Macs and iDevices, such as backup, content sync and even OS updates, this will now be done via the Finder app in a more intuitive way. More intuitive than say using a media player to do software updates, at least.
Proving that iTunes isn't as easy to kill as one would think, Windows users will be stuck with the iTunes software, which remains unchanged from this shakeup. The iTunes store, and buying downloads, isn't going away either with it "just a click away" from a sidebar within the new apps. It was never likely to go away completely, with Apple still pulling in cool billion a year just for music downloads (which has to be said is down considerably, lower than physical record sales, and dwarfed by the $7+ billion revenue for streaming).