Apple used its Worldwide Developers Conference in San Jose, Calif., Monday to officially announce its plans to end the Mac version of iTunes. The company will phase out its well-known media application with the introduction of OS X 10.15, code-named Catalina, which is expected to be released in September alongside the next version of iOS and the new iPhone.
However, the iTunes brand isn’t going away: Apple said the iTunes Store app will remain the place for iOS users to purchase music, while the Windows version of the iTunes application is living on (for now).
“iTunes started completely focused,” said Apple senior vice president of software engineering Craig Federighi at WWDC Monday, recalling how the app was initially just focused on music management.
He then told the audience about a number of features the company added to the software over the years, jokingly adding that Apple could take this type of feature bloat even further. “How about calendar in iTunes,” he joked. “How about mail in iTunes?”
Federighi then proceeded to reveal Apple’s actual strategy for media on the Mac: The company is replacing iTunes on the Mac with three dedicated apps for media, including a desktop app for podcasts, an Apple TV app for its TV and movie content as well as its upcoming Apple TV Plus video subscription service, and a music app to access both the company’s Apple Music subscription service as well as local music libraries.
“Apple Music in Catalina is the best music app we’ve ever made,” Federighi said.
The sunsetting of iTunes was widely expected to happen with OS X 10.15, and follows Apple’s multiyear move away from a transactional digital media business toward one focused on subscriptions. As the latest part of this transition, Apple is going to launch its own video-subscription service, dubbed Apple TV Plus, with original productions from creatives like Steven Spielberg, J.J. Abrams and Oprah later this year.