During the WWDC 2019 keynote in San Jose on Monday, Apple removed iTunes for Mac, replacing it with dedicated music, podcast, and TV apps. Even though iTunes for Mac was ultimately buried, Apple has now confirmed that iTunes for Windows will live on for the foreseeable future. As a result, iPhone, iPad, and – the few remaining – iPod touch users on Windows will have to live with iTunes, which has grown quite large and heavy over the years.
Apple told Ars Technica that the Windows version of iTunes will remain unchanged and perform exactly as it did in the past, at least for the foreseeable future. It remains to be seen whether new features added to MacOS Music, Podcasts, and TV apps in the future will make their way to iTunes for Windows. The news is hardly shocking, as Apple tends to keep its services within the confines of its walled garden and has been seen to prioritize the development of its own platforms. Apple Music for Android and iTunes for Windows are some of the few services that the Cupertino-based tech giant has made available for other platforms.
The death of iTunes has been a long time coming. Paid music downloads and audio CDs have given way to subscription music streaming services like Apple’s Spotify, Prime Music, and Apple Music. Even official music charts like the US Billboard Charts and the UK official charts have started to account for streaming plays.
Apple Music in macOS Catalina will import a user’s entire existing music library, including songs not purchased through Apple or ripped through audio CDs. Apple also confirmed that the iTunes Store, which changed the face of the music industry in 2003, will continue to live in the sidebar of the Apple Music app on macOS Catalina. Mac users who want to sync files to their old-fashioned iPhone / iPad / iPod can still do so through Finder. The iPhone / iPad / iPod will appear in the Finder sidebar like any external USB drive. It should be noted that the sync interface will be similar to the one currently found in iTunes – unfortunately you won’t see a simple file system.
In a recently released support document, Apple detailed the exact changes that users should expect. It states that the music playlists and smart playlists that users created in iTunes will be in the new Apple Music app. He clarified that the iTunes Store will still be available to purchase music on Mac, iOS, PC and Apple TV. The iTunes Store can be hidden from Apple Music, if users want to “make the experience even easier.” Apple also revealed that iTunes gift cards and iTunes credits will be kept and can be used with new apps and the App Store.
Apple also mentions that the movies and TV shows that users have purchased or rented from iTunes will be in the new Apple TV app. All future purchases or rentals of movies and TV series will of course be done through the new Apple TV application for Mac. Podcasts that users have subscribed to or added to iTunes will now be in the new Apple Podcasts app. Audiobooks that users have purchased from iTunes will now be in the updated Apple Books app, which will be the app for future audiobook purchases.