Thinking back to the early days of listening to music (via our PCs), for many of us – our first thoughts are engulfed by the nostalgia of Windows Media Player, and those oddly memorable media player skins and psychedelic visualizers. Listening to the music we loved back in the day as computer technology began developing required bought physical CDs, their tracks burned / ripped into badly-formatted and terribly named subfolders.
Single tracks carefully sourced and burned onto CD mixes, for our friends, lovers and family; CDs to jam to in the car, to play at parties. The excitement of borrowing a CD from a friend so we could finally have that album, with the ability to play it on repeat; not only on our CD players, but on our computers – long after we’ve returned the CD. As time went on, a new alternative was presented to us.
Apple’s iTunes revolutionized this idea as it hit the mainstream, as suddenly we had the ability to purchase these tracks directly from our computers and keep them for as long as we wished. To many, iTunes took over Windows Media Player, and became an integral media player as the early 2000’s pushed on. Even those with Windows PCs would download and install iTunes, as the media player provided users the ability to organise and access music easily. With this being said, the announcement that Apple is officially letting go of iTunes, and instead replacing the media player with specialised apps.
At Apple Inc’s developer conference on Monday, it was announced that the iTunes discontinuation will essentially be a reworking of sort. Over the years, the features added to iTunes have built up in numbers – from podcasts, to films; iTunes has offered itself as a media player with multiple functions, with more and more features being added over time (and for many of us, all these features leading to the dreaded, loading rainbow wheel of doom). In an interesting move, Apple has decided to phase out iTunes and all of its features, to instead focus on providing these services via separate apps.
Three separate media apps are scheduled to be phased in, in place of iTunes, in September 2019 with the release of a new operating system update for Apple products – OS X 10.15, nicknamed Catalina. The three apps consist of Apple Music, Apple Podcasts and Apple Movies: and as one may be able to tell, are focused on streaming services as opposed storing the files on one’s system. Apple Music is centered on just that – an app solely focused on the Apple Music streaming / subscription service. Although this focus is on the streaming service, Apple Senior Executive Craig Federighi has let users know –
“If you want to sync your devices and do old school stuff like put mp3s on them, that process will now take place in the Finder app.”
Which is rather reassuring for those of us who own Apple products but are not subscribed to the streaming service. This phase out of iTunes into separate apps, that are more focused on one form of media with more specific and accessible control, can definitely be seen as a step up in the efficiency of Apple’s products and services.
Words by Jenna Dreisenstock