“The future of iTunes is not one app, it's three, Apple Music, Apple Podcasts and Apple TV,” Apple’s Craig Federighi said during the Cupertino major’s annual WWDC keynote event in San Jose, California on Monday. But not before joking, how folks at Apple had considered adding calendar, web browsing, and email to it. Before deciding to replace – or rather, split – it completely. Good riddance, as many (including Apple, I suppose) would say, but say what you may, you CAN NOT simply talk about Apple’s many glories without mentioning iTunes. Because without iTunes, there would have been no Apple.
Both iTunes and iPod were irreplaceable at one point of time – both were windows into digital lifestyle, a concept that wasn’t as much as a phenomenon then as it is now. But did you know, iTunes was there even before the first iPod came up? As all things Apple, both iTunes and iPods were meant to set the new norm – at its center would be the Mac computer.
When iTunes was launched in 2001, it was supposed to be what others would imitate in the future – but it was also hallmark Apple. Simple. Useful. Even though, at its heart, it was meant to sync all your music into one place so you could access it from anywhere, iTunes was much more than just another jukebox software. It was iTunes that made downloading legal music look cool at a time when downloading it for free – piracy – was on the rise. It was iTunes that made buying music mainstream. It was so ‘special’ Apple partnered with arch rival Microsoft to bring it to Windows in 2003.
-Videos, podcasts: 2005
With time, simplicity gave way to a cornucopia of adds-ons, that although useful, was a far cry from what Apple had designed iTunes to be in the first place - Apple’s one size fits all approach was clearly a lapse in judgement. It did not help that Apple failed to refresh its design in tandem, complicating things even further. iTunes looked like an app that was in dire need of an update every time you opened it – lags and hiccups became part and parcel. Subscription services, including Apple’s own, delivered the final nail in the coffin.
On Monday, at WWDC 2019, Apple finally laid iTunes to rest. In its next macOS update, which is called Catalina, iTunes will cease to exist – iTunes will reportedly still be active on Windows, just in case. For syncing your devices, you'll now use the macOS Finder.
There’s a lot to love about macOS Catalina – particularly, Apple’s push for bringing iPad apps to the Mac through Project Catalyst. But as amazing as all these upcoming apps and features will be, Catalina will be etched forever in history for when Apple killed iTunes. RIP.