What does the end of Apple iTunes actually mean?


Apple has announced plans to replace iTunes, its long-running software which revolutionised the way people buy music, films and TV shows when it launched 18 years ago.

Many are viewing the move as the end of the app, though it will continue to exist in some form for now.

What has Apple announced?

Apple said it will replace iTunes in its new version of macOS, Catalina, the operating system for its Mac computers, to “simplify and improve the way Mac users discover and enjoy their favourite music, TV shows, movies and podcasts”.

The media and content that iTunes currently looks after will be handled by three separate apps instead – Apple Music, Apple Podcasts and the Apple TV app.

“The future of iTunes is not one app, but three,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering, as he revealed the changes during the company’s annual Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) on Monday.

Apple made the announcement during its Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) on Monday (Yui Mok/PA)

Will I lose my music, film and TV downloads?

No, existing purchases will not be lost as a result of the changes.

Instead, any music, films or TV shows brought through iTunes will be split and discoverable in their relevant app – so any music purchases will sit within the Apple Music app, like it already does on the iOS version of Apple Music, TV and movies will live in the Apple TV app, and podcasts in the dedicated Podcasts app.

Will I still be able to purchase music?

For those who prefer to purchase music rather than stream, the iTunes Music Store will still be available, Apple said, though it has not clarified what form it will take – whether it will be housed within the Apple Music app, or whether it will continue as a smaller, standalone app.

Apple Podcasts app
Three separate apps will handle relevant media instead of iTunes (Apple/PA)

Will this affect Windows?

Apple’s announcement has centred on its new version of macOS, Catalina, so is unlikely to affect Windows users.

Although the firm has yet to confirm its plans for iTunes on Windows, it has been reported that the software will remain as it is at present.

Why is Apple replacing iTunes?

Apple is making the changes on Mac because iTunes has become bloated since it first launched.

At the beginning, it was purely music-focused, but later added films, TV shows and podcasts.

With the rise of streaming – and Apple’s own TV and movie streaming service set to launch later in the year – the iPhone-maker feels it is better to split each media type up into their own categories to make it easier to find relevant content.

It is also important to remember that Apple’s services side of the business, which includes Apple Music, makes up an increasing slice of its profit margins, so this is an opportunity for Apple to showcase its streaming platforms instead.

The decision makes the Mac experience more aligned with the iOS experience, where these separate apps already exist alongside iTunes.

Chris Price
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