Apple chops up iTunes offering

Lauren Kate Rawlins
By Lauren Kate Rawlins, ITWeb digital and innovation contributor.
Johannesburg, 04 Jun 2019
The new Apple Music on a Mac Book.
The new Apple Music on a Mac Book.

Apple will do away with the iTunes multimedia store, and instead separate it into three separate apps that concentrate on particular forms of multimedia: Apple Music, Podcasts and Apple TV.

This was unveiled during the annual Apple Worldwide Developers Conference keynote address that took place in San Jose, California last night, when the new macOS Catalina was previewed.

Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice-president of software engineering, took to the stage and first joked that Apple would improve iTunes by adding more functionalities to it, like calendar and mail. Users have long said iTunes it too ‘bloated’.

Federighi then said Apple would actually spin the offering out into three separate apps, allowing users’ multimedia organising and discovery to be simplified.

The iTunes platform was launched by then Apple CEO Steve Jobs in 2001. At the time, it was revolutionary as it gave users access to a vast catalogue of music to legally buy and download in a single easy-to-use place. Users were also able to store music they had bought on CDs on iTunes and have that music available to them on multiple devices.

However, over time, Apple has been adding multiple functionalities to the platform, allowing users to store, buy and organise different types of multimedia. This took away from the core function of the platform and irked users.

The new Apple Music features more than 50 million songs, playlists and music videos in its catalogue that users subscribe to. Users will have access to their entire music library, whether they downloaded the songs, purchased them or ripped them from a CD.

The iTunes Music Store will still exist for users to buy digital songs and albums if they wish to own the music.

The new Apple TV app brings together different ways to find and watch movies and TV shows into one app. It features Apple TV channels, personalised recommendations and over 100 000 iTunes movies and TV shows to browse, buy or rent.

Earlier this year, Apple announced Apple TV+, an original video subscription service which will be available on the Apple TV app later this year. The service will feature some of the world's most well-known and creative actors and directors producing exclusive original shows, movies and documentaries for Apple TV+ subscribers.

The new Podcasts app features more than 700 000 shows and there is an option to be automatically notified about new episodes as soon as they become available. The app also features new categories, curated collections by editors around the world, and advanced search tools that can find episodes by host, guest or discussion topic.

OS updates

The keynote address also revealed several other announcements, including the iPad getting its own operating system. The new iPadOS builds on the same foundation as iOS but adds new capabilities and features specific to the large display of an iPad, allowing users to multi-task better.

The new iOS 13 introduces a new look for iPhone called Dark Mode and new ways to browse and edit photos, sign in to apps and Web sites, and an improved Maps app. iOS 13 is faster and more responsive, with optimisations across the system that improve app launch, reduce app download sizes and make Face ID work faster.

The new watchOS 6 was also previewed and an App Store just for the Apple Watch was announced.

Several health and fitness apps for the Apple Watch were announced with the OS, including an app that alerts users to unsafe levels of sound in their environment to protect their hearing, and an app to help women track their menstrual cycles.