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Apple confirms it is retiring iTunes

By | Published on Tuesday 4 June 2019


As expected, Apple yesterday confirmed that it is canning iTunes, in among a flurry of announcements at the tech giant’s Worldwide Developers Conference. Though, of course, that’s the iTunes software, not the digital music store where you old timers can still download yourself the occasional digital music file on our wind-up clockwork dust-filled retro old-school MP3 playing device of choice. You know, like it’s 2011 or something.

iTunes, of course, began life as a software package on Macs for organising and playing digital audio files, then for ripping tracks off CDs, then for buying digital music, then for buying TV shows, then for buying movies, then for downloading podcasts, then for storing e-books, then for syncing phones to laptops, then for accessing apps, and then and then and then, yeah, that’s rather a lot for one bit of software to be doing.

Plus, excuse me, what are all those non-tunes doing in iTunes? Get your own software package non-tune-makers!

On its mobile operating system, Apple has long since operated different apps for different content types, and a similar move on the firm’s Mac OS – that runs on its desktop and laptop computers – has been frequently predicted. That that development was now imminent seemed likely when Apple launched its new TV+ video streaming service in March and confirmed that a standalone TV app would be added to Mac OS.

In a statement yesterday, Apple stated that the next version of Mac OS – dubbed Catalina – “replaces iTunes with three all-new apps that greatly simplify and improve the way Mac users discover and enjoy their favourite music, TV shows, movies and podcasts”. It then added: “The new Music app for Mac is lightning fast, fun and easy to use”.

Confirming the new musical app will incorporate Apple’s streaming service as well as each user’s own digital music collection and the iTunes download store, the statement went on: “Apple Music will help users discover great new music with over 50 million songs, playlists and music videos. And users will have access to their entire music library, whether they downloaded the songs, purchased them or ripped them from a CD. For those who like to own their music, the iTunes Music Store is just a click away”.

A click away for now at least. There has been speculation at various points in recent years that Apple will shut down its download store at some point, given download sales have been in steep decline for some time and the tech giant has successfully got itself involved in the streaming boom.

Though downloads were still 12% of the global recorded music market last year, so there’s still some more cash to be squeezed out of that whole thing for now, I guess.