Rumors of the death of iTunes turned out to be somewhat exaggerated. Apple confirmed during their recent Developers Conference that the company would be phasing out its long-running media player, but the move appears to be more of a streamlining and rebranding than the dramatic elimination some chatter late last week suggested.
Instead of expanding iTunes, Apple is replacing it with three separate media streaming apps: Apple Music, Apple Podcasts, and Apple TV. The new Apple Music app “has all the powerful music features you expect from iTunes,” Federighi said, but it will be focused only on, well, music—specifically tailored toward the Apple Music subscription streaming service. And if you want to sync your devices and do old school stuff like put mp3s on them, that process will now take place in the Finder app. The change is set to take place with the planned arrival of OS X 10.15, code-named Catalina, in September.
Self-deprecating humor aside, the Apple event today devoted a surprisingly small amount of time to what the end of iTunes means in practical terms for music fans. Here’s a breakdown of what was revealed, along with the big questions that remain unanswered.
Can I still play mp3s on my computer?
Yes. A press release issued after the live announcement said that “users will have access to their entire music library, whether they downloaded the songs, purchased them, or ripped them from a CD.” So again, take a deep breath—contrary to speculation, no one’s iTunes collections were “killed” today. Further questions about keeping personal playlists and play counts intact haven’t been answered as of press time.
Is the iTunes Store closing?
No. The press release said, “For those who like to own their music, the iTunes Music Store is just a click away.” In other words, the iTunes store—which was launched two years after its namesake app and transformed the music industry by allowing the purchase of individual songs—is still very much alive.
Will the new Apple Music app work on Windows?
Apparently not. Outside of the Mac ecosystem, it’s still an iTunes world after all. Windows users will see no changes in their experience.
Will a legacy version of iTunes be kept online for download?
Given the seemingly irreversible history of iTunes updates, it’s probably a safe bet that once you update your software, you won’t be able to go back to iTunes. Cupertino doesn’t tend to make it easy for users to hold onto legacy apps.
What’s the oldest Mac model that will be compatible with the new apps?
Many Mac users want to know if Apple’s post-iTunes music software will work with their computers. The company hasn’t shared those details yet.
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