Apple might be planning to kill off the iTunes program on iMacs and MacBooks in the near future, according to software developer Steve Troughton-Smith.
That’s right, the program that powered the iPod will be resigned to the digital scrapheap. Instead, it’s likely to be spun out into separate apps for Apple Music, Podcasts, and TV.
The move would bring better alignment between iOS and Mac devices, but what would happen to all your music on iTunes? Read on to find out more.
Why Would Apple Kill Off iTunes?
As we mentioned above, the main benefit for Apple would be bringing Mac devices into line with iPhones and iPads. For owners of multiple Apple devices, this would make for a slightly less confusing user experience.
I am now fairly confident based on evidence I don't wish to make public at this point that Apple is planning new (likely UIKit) Music, Podcasts, perhaps even Books, apps for macOS, to join the new TV app. I expect the four to be the next wave of Marzipan apps. Grain of salt, etc
— Steve Troughton-Smith (@stroughtonsmith) April 5, 2019
However, it’s also smart business for Apple. As the company continues expanding its service offerings, rather than focusing purely on hardware, bringing apps such as Apple Music, Apple TV, and Podcasts to Mac opens up more opportunities for selling content.
By taking TV shows away from iTunes, for example, the focus would move from the content you download to own, to the content that you can stream from Apple. In particular, this is an opportunity to promote the content locked behind the paid-for Apple TV+ subscription.
Similarly, while you would still be able to play the music you actually own (what a strange, antiquated concept that is) through the Apple Music app, users would (Apple hopes) feel more tempted to opt for an Apple Music subscription.
What About iTunes Match?
iTunes Match is a paid-for cloud backup tool within iTunes that lets users access the same music across multiple devices. Subscribers can share all their iTunes library via the cloud, no matter how the tracks were originally added to iTunes – whether that’s MP3s originally downloaded onto iTunes via a computer, music purchases made from an iPhone, or the files produced when ripping CDs through iTunes.
In many ways, iTunes Match is a tool that pre-empted the ubiquity and ease of streaming services, before streaming services became the way to listen to music.
So, what will happen if you’re already paying for iTunes Match? At the moment, we’re not certain – Troughton-Smith’s claim about the death of iTunes is based on evidence he doesn’t “wish to make public at this time.”
However, there’s every chance that Apple might do what Apple has done plenty of times before – leave customers in the lurch when a legacy app or service stops being supported.
You would still technically own any music stored on iTunes, and it would probably move across to the Apple Music app (as it did on iPhones), so it wouldn’t necessarily be the end of the world. It remains to be seen whether there’s a charge for keeping ‘matched’ versions in Apple Music of all the albums you originally ripped from CDs years ago.
What About iTunes on Windows?
But what if you don’t own a Mac? After all, there’s no Apple Music app designed for Windows devices.
According to Troughton-Smith, iTunes for Windows would stick around as a “legacy app for some time.” This means that any content you own would still be available, but you wouldn’t be able to stream music, TV shows, or anything else across your devices.
However, with Apple Music available on Android devices, it would seem unreasonable for Apple not to create an Apple Music app for Windows. This is Apple though, so don’t rule it out.
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