Apple is ready to pull the plug on iTunes, nearly two decades after launching the game-changing application. According to Bloomberg, the company plans to retire the product at next week’s WWDC event.
Killing iTunes is long overdue. It’s been rumored for years now that Apple would shelve the product, as it does little to benefit customers who already made the switch to one of Apple’s standalone apps for movies, music, or podcasts. According to the Bloomberg report, users can expect the Music app to host many of iTunes’ audio features.
The move to shutter iTunes, at this point, is largely a symbolic one. As an ardent fan of the Apple ecosystem, even I can’t justify iTunes when better apps have existed for years now. In fact, it became difficult to defend iTunes once third-party services like Spotify started allowing Apple device owners to sync their phones and tablets without using iTunes.
At this point, Apple’s move is largely a symbolic one, a gesture that the company recognizes its future in services, as opposed to just hardware. With hardware sales flattening across the board, the move to boost profits elsewhere is an expected one, and has become fodder for a number of pseudo-revolutionary takes about how Apple was now a software company — as if it wasn’t, in some regards, a software and services company all along.
Still, some are sure to be frustrated by the move. Change breeds contempt in the tech world, after all. The changes, though, follow a natural evolutionary arc: phones that don’t require computers, tablets that reduce the need for a laptop, and watches that aren’t dependent on phones.
Simply put, this shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone whose been paying attention. We also don’t know quite yet when it’ll put the service to bed, but presumably it’ll offer weeks or months for users to get their files in order before pulling the plug.
Reports also suggest that other apps, including the long-neglected Mail app, are due for an upgrade at WWDC as well. Fingers crossed.