You could argue iTunes is the single most transformational product ever created by Apple. OK, maybe just since the Macintosh. Alright fine, how about since the iMac. Seriously, hear me out; iTunes basically created the industry for legal digital music downloads and, as a result, portable music players, and it provided the foundation for Apple’s vast payment ecosystem.
You could even argue that without iTunes, there would have been no iPod, no iPad, no App Store, and no Apple Music. Oh, and no iPhone.
That’s basically 85 percent of the world’s most valuable company.
Look, even if you think I’m being dramatic, it’s hard to not see that iTunes and the iTunes Store was the service that made all of those things possible. It was the platform that led to over 300 million people storing their payment information with Apple–a platform that is rare in that it has never been hacked or breached. It was also how Apple made managing your devices simple and seamless.
Still, according to Bloomberg, Apple will announce today at it’s Worldwide Developer Conference that iTunes is finally being put to rest.
A trio of standalone apps will take its place, focusing on music, TV, and podcasts. Each of these will be similar to the versions currently available on the iPhone and iPad, with the Music app taking over the role of managing those devices.
Despite iTunes’ important place in the history of Apple, I don’t know anyone who didn’t think it was well past usefulness. While you might shed a tear for the sake of nostalgia, here are some reasons why phasing it out actually makes perfect sense.
No one downloads music anymore.
I mean, I guess technically you can download music as a part of Apple Music or Spotify, but you don’t buy it. You can, there’s still a store, but no one actually does. You just pay a monthly fee to have access to it on any of your devices.
iTunes was built as a place to buy music and sync it to your iPod. And for a long time it was amazing. It was simple and fast and it just worked. Unfortunately, we’re well past those days, and as features were added to allow you to download things like Movies and TV shows, it got bloated and cumbersome.
iTunes is a mess.
I don’t ever use iTunes. In fact, the only time it’s open on my MacBook Pro is when I connect my iPhone and it opens up to ask if I want to back it up. I don’t.
iCloud handles that for me automatically. It’s far simpler and faster to just skip the software on my Mac and go straight to the cloud.
One reason why is that iTunes is so overstuffed that it’s become complicated and not at all intuitive, though to be fair, Apple’s Music app could also use some help. Hopefully, by unifying the app across both iOS and MacOS, additional attention will be paid to the overall design.
Apple’s overall strategy has changed.
Apple is clearly all-in on subscription-based services. It’s the company’s most profitable and fastest-growing division. Apple Music, News +, Arcade, and Apple TV are all ways of collecting incremental but recurring revenue for services that make it easier to consume content. And it’s as simple as a tap because of the payment platform built for iTunes.
In fact, Apple only makes one iPod these days, and the company doesn’t even consider it a music device. It’s a gaming device. They updated its specs last week basically so it would be powerful enough to serve as an entry-level iOS device to support its new Apple Arcade game subscription plan.
Letting go of a good thing.
Sometimes it’s hard to let go of a good thing, especially when that thing has been such an integral part of what makes your company successful. But when that thing gets in the way of moving forward, it’s time to move on.