So many publications have been publishing articles about how “iTunes is dead,” but it doesn’t look very dead to me. Apple announced, at this week’s Worldwide Developer Conference, that iTunes (on the Mac) would be split into three apps: Music, Podcasts, and Apple TV. As such, iTunes itself isn’t really dead, but just split into a few separate parts.
Apple has published a document outlining the changes, and, well, it doesn’t look very dead to me. Certain media kinds have been moved to new or different apps (for example, audiobooks are now in the Books app), and syncing will be handled by the Finder. (The Finder is bloated, right?)
In essence, nothing much has changed. The iTunes name is still used for the iTunes Store, despite some publications claiming that the iTunes name was being retired, or that Apple was ending its music download service.
I don’t know… For years, people have been kvetching about iTunes, and all it took was for Apple to move a couple of media kinds to different apps, and to change the name of the music player, and everyone’s suddenly happy, but also dancing around the grave of an app that hasn’t really changed that much. You can still buy music from the iTunes Store, rip your CDs, sync your devices, make playlists, and so on.
I certainly find that the new approach is a lot cleaner, at least for the music player, which is what I use iTunes for the most. But not using it for other media kinds means you can just ignore them. If anything, the fact that they moved navigation options to the sidebar makes sense. I have always found that the top navigation tabs, combined with the Media Picker, we’re confusing. But the Music app retains pretty much everything of iTunes, just for one media kind. So is it still “bloated?”
I wish Apple had used the same interface for the Apple TV app. Those top tabs are distracting, and now create two different interfaces for different media kinds.
And you now need to go to three different apps to buy content from the iTunes Store: Music, Apple TV, and Books. Currently, you can search for content in the iTunes Store and see what shows up for all the media kinds available. So that’s definitely a step backwards.
In case you’re worried, most AppleScripts for iTunes will continue to work in the new Music app, with some changes. (For example, in AppleScripts, you refer to a specific app name, and all scripts that work with iTunes will need to be revised to use the Music app name.)
Here are the main points in Apple’s document:
- Music that you’ve imported or purchased will be in the new Apple Music app.
- Music playlists and smart playlists that you’ve created in iTunes will be in the new Apple Music app.
- The iTunes Store will still be available to buy music on Mac, iOS, PC, and Apple TV.
- iTunes Gift Cards and iTunes credits will be maintained and can be used with the new apps and the App Store.
- iPhone, iPad, and iPod backup, restore, and syncing will move to Finder.
- Movies and TV shows that you purchased or rented from iTunes will be in the new Apple TV app.
- Use the Apple TV app for Mac for future movie and TV purchases or rentals.
- Podcasts that you subscribed to or added to iTunes will now be in the new Apple Podcasts app.
- Audiobooks that you purchased from iTunes will now be in the updated Apple Books app.
- Use the Apple Books app for Mac for future audiobook purchases.