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The end of iTunes

The Apple software will be replaced by three separate apps for songs, movies and podcasts

The end of iTunes The Apple software will be replaced by three separate apps for songs, movies and podcasts

Let's get ready to say goodbye to iTunes. Last night, in fact, in the large hall of the San Jose convention center, a few kilometers from the headquarters of the Cupertino-based company, during the Worldwide Developers Conference, Tim Cook and his team unveiled Apple's hi-tech innovations including the launch of iPadOs, iOs 13 with dark mode, macOs Mojave, the new watchOs and tvOs, and a $6,000 Mac Pro.

What striked the attention, however, were not the new devices, but the closure of iTunes (which for the moment will continue to survive for Windows). With macOS 10.15 Catalina, the famous jukebox/store will be divided into three separate applications that are cleaner, minimalist and intuitive. Music will manage the local music archive, the streaming playback of Apple Music and the radios; Apple TV will manage and play video content and it will be the platform where the Apple pay channel will be available; Podcasts to search and download from the network the radio broadcasts produced directly for the Internet. Device synchronization will now be handled by the Finder application. 

 This decision marks the end of an era, the historical transition from the Jobs era to the beginning of a new world. A bit like it happened with the introduction of iTunes on April 28, 2003, which marked a small revolution for digital music. The jukebox/store offers 200,000 pieces of music, each for 99 cents. In the first week, more than 1 million songs were sold (the most downloaded piece was Sticks in a moment by U2). Initially reserved for Mac users, the novelty found its maximum expression in combination with the iPod. This device, unveiled for the first time on October 23, 2001, was an object as big as a pack of cigarettes, designed by Jonathan Ive, with very few controls easy to use and able to store in his hard disk up to a thousand songs. 

Together, the two items invented by Jobs changed the habits of music lovers, redesigning sales charts and record company strategies. Their introduction made it more practical to download songs legally, making it much easier to pay for music than to download it illegally from early file-sharing sites like Napster. Soon the popularity of iPod and iTunes turned the two products into status symbols, adapting perfectly to the new needs of consumers and becoming part of their daily lives as decades before it had happened for the walkman. All despite the fact that Apple allowing to buy songs at a very low cost had prompted many artists and record labels to accuse the Californian company of taking away value from the music. In its 18 years of existence of iTunes, its functionality and the offer of content for entertainment by Apple have increased significantly, to the point of making the program increasingly heavy and unintuitive, especially for the management of content other than music such as movies, TV series and podcasts. The new division into smaller apps could, therefore, turn out to be a good solution. 

Fun fact: The introduction of iTunes on Microsoft's operating system was late because the then CEO of Apple, Steve Jobs, believed that the presence of iTunes only on Macs could be a good incentive to switch to Apple computers. When he finally allowed iTunes to be available on Windows, Jobs said:

“It's like giving a glass of ice water to somebody in hell”.