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Apple to kill off iTunes as it embraces streaming music with replacement app

Andrew Griffin
Saturday 01 June 2019 12:37 BST
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2008 Apple advert features music by The Ting Tings

Apple appears to be killing off iTunes, bringing an end to one of the most popular apps in history.

The company is expected to announce its plans at its Worldwide Developers’ Conference, where it will reveal new software that will take the widely loved (and hated) app’s place.

For nearly 20 years, iTunes has been the primary way for people to buy, organise and listen to music. It was unveiled in 2001 and has powered generations of music listeners, as well as being associated with the rise of both the iPod and the iPhone.

But over that same period it has become controversial, becoming a slow and unwieldy piece of software when compared with Apple’s more recent software. It also came to represent a way of listening – buying songs and organising them in a local library – that has largely become surpassed by streaming.

Apple will kill off the traditional version of iTunes to embrace that new streaming future with an app built to allow users to listen to music, according to a report from Bloomberg, which echoes a series of other leaks.

Previous reports have suggested the new version will be created specifically for Apple Music, rather than being integrated within it. It is likely to keep some of the same features, but drop the older parts of the app that have been accrued over the many years it has been available.

As well as the music app, Apple is expected to release separate apps for videos and podcasts, which have also been a part of the iTunes app. The TV version is already available on some platforms, and will soon come to others as well as start offering Apple’s own streaming video service.

The app always had a divisive reputation, and many will not mourn its demise. While it helped bring about the iPod era and was one of the primary ways for people to store music, it also gradually became more and more bloated and slow as Apple added increasing numbers of functions into the app.

It’s likely that Apple will keep iTunes around for a short while, at least in some form. It remains the only way for people to manage older iPod devices that never had internet connections and so can’t stream music.

Songs bought through the iTunes Store will also almost certainly stick around, probably being present in the new version of the music app too. But it is unlikely Apple will integrate the store with that app in such a way as to allow people to make new purchases.

Apple will begin its WWDC announcements on Monday, in a keynote presentation that will be streamed live on the company’s website and covered minute-by-minute on The Independent.

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