Apple expected to close iTunes

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After nearly two decades, Apple may be closing its iTunes service. Apple users use iTunes to buy and download music, videos and podcasts, as well as store and organise multimedia assets.

The closure is expected to be announced at the annual Apple Worldwide Developers Conference that kicks off today in San Jose, California, with the keynote address taking place this evening at 7pm in South Africa, which will be 10am Pacific Time.

According to a report by Bloomberg, Apple will launch a trio of new apps for the Mac – Music, TV and Podcasts – to replace iTunes. The report states this approach matches Apple’s media app strategy on iPhones and iPads. Users will be able to manage their Apple gadgets through the Music app.

The Verge reported Apple has cleared out its Instagram and Facebook pages for iTunes, removing all pictures, posts and videos.

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, in recent years there has been a move to streaming services that give users access to a large amount of music, without having to buy each single track, as users just pay a monthly subscription.

In 2015, the company launched Apple Music, a single app that allows users to stream music from the extensive iTunes library, listen to a live, worldwide radio station, and "connect" with their favourite artists.

The iTunes library will not disappear; it will be split up and housed in new apps.

What else to expect

Apple uses this annual conference to unveil the latest operating systems for all its device. Its new mobile operating system iOS 13 is expected to be announced, with a revamp of the home screen rumoured and a new system-wide ‘dark’ theme.

Other apps expected to be updated include Maps, Reminders, Health, Mail and Messages. Bloomberg reports the Health app will have updates monitoring hearing health; for example, it will alert users when the environment they are in is too loud. It is also predicted to have a more comprehensive menstrual cycle tracking feature.

There is bound to be a new operating system for Mac users, macOS 10.15. It is expected that Apple will bring certain iOS apps to Mac machines. There should also be new operating systems for the Apple TV and Apple Watch. The new watchOS is expected to have a new onboard App Store added and new apps like Calculator and Voice Recorder.

The company does not usually use the developers conference to announce hardware; however, sometimes it does preview new devices and this year it is expected to showcase the new Mac Pro.

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