R.I.P. iTunes: Apple Announces New Music, TV and Podcast Apps

Apple’s iTunes will soon be a thing of the past. At its Worldwide Developer’s Conference (WWDC 2019), Apple announced that iTunes will be put to rest.  Instead of the one-stop streaming media app for 18 years since it first launched alongside the iPod, each type of media will now stream separately to its own app. Music will stream to Apple Music. Movies and TV shows will stream to Apple TV. Podcasts will be heard on Apple Podcasts. Audiobooks will be available on Apple Books.  The death of iTunes will be complete with the Mac operating system update, “Catalina,” to be released in the fall.

Rest assured, while you won’t access your music through iTunes, your full music library of ripped and purchased albums and songs will be automatically accessible in the new Apple Music app. Likewise, your music playlists and smart playlists will be migrated to the new app.  

While the apps are split into Apple Music and Apple TV, there will still be an iTunes Store in each app to purchase music in the music app and videos in the Apple TV app. Any iTunes gift cards will be maintained and can be used in the in the stores on the new apps. 

How you sync your music to your Apple iOS devices will change since it has been done through the iTunes app. When iTunes goes away, Mac users will sync music from their Mac computer to their device using the Finder app. While PCs were not mentioned in the WWDC announcement, it stands to reason that syncing will be accomplished through Windows Explorer.  On a Mac, syncing will not be automatically available.  Instead, you’ll have to go into the Finder sidebar and choose to sync your iOS device, then drag and drop content to the device.  This process is similar to how music was once shared between PCs and MP3 players. In those early days, it was easy to add or remove music from the player as it appeared like an external hard drive.  Perhaps it will become easier to manage music on devices with the new way of syncing.

Apple was very excited to announce that lyrics will be available to accompany songs in Apple Music on devices and on Apple TV.  The lyrics will be synced to song playback so you can sing along. 

Families that share Apple Music won’t need to sift through music suggestions that suit their kids’ tastes and vice versa. The new Apple Music app will allow for multiple users.  A customized experience will be available for each user as music recommendations, libraries and such are personalized for each family member.  The multi-user experience will also be available in the Apple TV app.

Apple TV Announcements
While the Apple TV app has already added new features in its recent update, more changes will come to the video streaming app when Apple TV + launches in the fall. A trailer from one of the upcoming Apple TV + original series was previewed at the conference.  For All Mankind is a series by Ronald D. Moore, known for his work on Battlestar Gallactica and Star Trek: The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, and Voyager. The series dramatizes what might have happened if the space race had never ended.  This and other original series will start in the fall when the Apple TV + subscription service becomes available.

The Apple TV app will also support multiple users with easy switching from an onscreen control center similar to the ones found on iPhones and iPads. 

The Apple TV app has already rolled out to Apple TVs, iPhones and iPads, and will be on this spring’s new smart TV models. In the fall, the Apple TV app will be available on the Mac.  
“Watch Now” as well as TV show and movie suggestions will be available on the Mac as it is on the Apple TV.  The new app will support playback of 4K HDR videos with Dolby Atmos for compatible Mac computers.  

The Apple TV will receive an Apple TV OS update.  With each update, users have looked forward to new additions to the screensaver.  While screensavers on most other media players are typically ignored, it appears that users actually watch those on the Apple TV.  The last update brought videos from space.  The next update will include 4K HDR video shot under the sea.

Some Apple TV features that were announced are already available on the newly updated app, including full screen preview.  When you highlight a title, a trailer automatically begins playing.  Come back for my next column to learn more about the radical updates to the Apple TV app as I write about my hands-on experience.  Spoiler alert: it appears that Apple has finally come out with a winner with the new Apple TV app. 

Billy's picture

Who cares? I Tunes sucked. First it was full of nasty DRM that only made us honest citizens pay with misery, later when that was gone, it still was finicky to use. Drop and drag? Not a chance. No matter what ever they replace it with, Apple will still feel the need to not let us have our fair usage rights. I will never again use an Apple product. Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.

Magoo's picture

I only use iTunes for ripping but once ripped, it goes straight to Roon’s software where you manage everything with a tablet!

It what iTunes should have been many years ago. I also gave up vinyl many years ago. Way too much trouble for too little return. Plus Roon has a great community for any aspect of listening to digital music. Check it out,