Three Key Points about Apple’s WWDC Announcements

Apple made some interesting announcements at their Worldwide Developer Conference on Monday. Here are three points to keep in mind.

It’s not for you.

Not every Apple product is for you. Just as the iPod touch, which was recently updated, isn’t for everyone (it’s widely used in industry), the new Mac Pro isn’t for everyone. So don’t gripe about the price (okay, you can gripe about the $1,000 stand for the display, but only because it’s a bit ridiculous; however, it’s a nice stand). Don’t drool over it, any more than you’d drool over, say, a Leica or Hasselblad camera to take vacation photos.

But keep in mind that perhaps Apple will introduce a less expensive Mac based on the new Mac Pro at some point in the future.

It’s just a beta.

I have an Apple developer account, allowing me to access beta software; I need this to be able to write about it as we approach release date. Lots of Apple websites are already writing about the betas of iOS 13 and macOS Catalina. But remember, these are very early betas, so any missing features shouldn’t be written off yet. There will be plenty of changes as the software matures over the summer.

It’s not dead.

In spite of what much of the press is saying, iTunes is not dead. First, the app has been renamed, but the iTunes name isn’t gone. You still buy music from the iTunes Store, accessible from the new Music app. Second, you can still buy music from the iTunes Store. I a journalist heard on the BBC news claim, on Tuesday morning, that Apple had killed off their music download service. Third, iTunes has been split into three apps, retaining nearly all the functionality of the current iTunes. Fourth, iTunes isn’t bloated. And, fifth and finally, iTunes on Windows – which represents perhaps 90% of iTunes users – isn’t changing.

Don’t expect Apple to retire the iTunes Store name any time soon. That brand is much too valuable.

21 thoughts on “Three Key Points about Apple’s WWDC Announcements

  1. And doug’s scripts for music meta data editing, did i here we still hav the same functionality, or did i read you wrong?

    • 🙂

      It’s fair to say that Doug was quite anxious about this, but quickly found that the AppleScript dictionary is in the new Music app.

  2. I installed the beta, I was curious about the Music app. Sure looks like the exact same iTunes app, with just some functionality moved to other places. Can’t believe all the “iTunes is Dead” headlines. I was hoping for a new faster database for Music files.
    Was the previous gen Mac Pro (which I have, the trashcan Mac), ever made in the US as it was going to be. I heard some crazy story that they couldn’t get enough screws made in the US. I was just wondering if there was any discussion about making the new Mac Pro in the US?

    • It’s a beta. We don’t know if it will be faster. For now, I have it installed with a tiny library (plus my iCloud Music Library library) and haven’t done much testing.

      I believe the trashcan Mac Pro was made in the USA; I haven’t heard any suggestion that the new one would be.

  3. In the new Catalina scenario, where do Music Videos sit? I just don’t think they fit well with TV and Movie videos in the TV app. So IMO they should remain with Music, but does the new Music app have any video playback functionality?

  4. I’m wondering if Apple, when moving iOS sync and backup from iTunes to Finder, eliminated sync and backup over WiFi. Apple speaks of plugging your iPhone into your Mac and it’ll show up in Finder, but no mention of WiFi. And, the screenshot of the new iOS management window in Finder doesn’t seem to show the option for sync over WiFi.

    • I have no idea about Catalina, but did WiFi sync work for you? Since it was introduced, I have NEVER been able to make use of WiFi sync. My more overriding memory of it was the iOS device sitting in arm’s length of the Mac and the WiFi Base Station, everything running perfectly on the network – except iTunes which would steadfastly refuse to accept the device was actually there. It was utterly, utterly hopeless. Not just bad, simply failed to EVER work as it should and I could never understand how Apple could make such a pig’s ear of something as standard as networking.

      So I’m surprised to hear anyone was actually able to make use of it.

      • I recall when it was first introduced, it was nearly impossible to get it to work. Since then, I hardly ever used it. Now, I don’t even sync my devices: I use iCloud Music Library, so I haven’t tried it in years. I’ll try with one of my devices later this week.

      • WiFi sync and backup always worked for me, ever since Apple introduced it a number of years ago.

        That said, the WiFi connection is not without it’s issues for me — it would occasionally kick a device off WiFi and fail to complete the sync or backup operation. Quitting iTunes and re-establishing a connection would fix it.

        All in all, sync and backup over WiFi is more convenient for me than USB and I hope Apple retains it in Catalina.

    • I see no reason why not. I can’t test that, because I only have one USB-C > USB-A dongle, and it’s got my external SSD connected on which I installed Catalina.

  5. Why does it seem that so many people are happy iTunes is “dead”? The app always worked fine for me. I’m glad the new music app seems to retain much of the same music management functionality. Anyway, looking forward to reading your thoughts in the coming months Kirk!

  6. According to Doug Adams, the Music beta doesn’t have the column browser, which is something that I use constantly, in iTunes. It’s hard to imagine using iTunes without it.

    Here’s hoping that it gets added back in before Catalina is released!

    • I’m with you on that. The only way I absolutely HAVE to browse my music is by Artist : Album : Track (sorted by Sort Artist : Sort Album : Disc No./Track No. respectively), everything else is just fluff. iTunes allows me to do that whereas I’ve not found any other Music software that can actually do the basics. Too many fancy graphics and nonsense like random sorts. Ugh. Have those if you must, but get the basics right first. Fingers crossed Apple haven’t lost sight of this, although I’m not holding my breath.

  7. Well, I knew the day was coming when Apple would split up the iTunes app on Mac. I guess that day has arrived.

    I prefer to have separate apps on iOS, but I liked the “combined” iTunes app on Mac. Everything was in one place – easy to find, easy to edit. In fact, I was sad when Apple split off books (ebooks and audiobooks) into the separate Books app on Mac several years ago. It made it harder, among other things, to edit the book metadata. Oh well.

    I hope Doug’s scripts continue to work in both the new Music and Video apps, as I sometimes edit metadata for both audio and video. We’ll see.

    • I think there are 2 issues to consider. As far as I’m concerned, splitting it up into separate apps is fine, as long as they provide at least as good functionality as was available in iTunes. As mentioned above, Books is pretty hopeless at editing the metadata and when showing a list view, it doesn’t even work correctly. Sort by Author, hit a key to go to the first author starting with that letter and instead it goes to the first book whose Title starts with that letter. Only after several sorts and other messings about can you get it to work as it should – as it always has in iTunes. As I said, it’s all very well splitting the media into these different apps, but it’s NOT ok to then short change the user by removing some of the existing functionality.

      My current concern with the new Music app is hearing that there’s no column browser. Much as I like to look at album artwork, trying to show every one of the 1,500 or so albums that I have, by its artwork is fundamentally hopeless. So much development these days seems to consist of the developers trying to display as much ‘bling’ as they can, completely ignoring the basic functionality that is required for the app to actually work and which is often hampered by this over-abundance of gimmicky displays. Ok, if you’ve got a couple of dozen albums, no big deal. But the app also needs to function for serious music collectors with a lot of music (often much more than I have). This is where even Apple’s products seem to come up short, despite the Mac being the ‘digital hub’ as espoused by Steve Jobs. iTunes started when there was no album artwork and the column browser was the only way to view the collection and they kept it in there all this time. However I am now concerned that these shortsighted developers will dumb it down so even though it may look great, it only really works for kids with very little actual music to store and sort through.

      Time will tell, but any splitting of iTunes MUST maintain at least the same functionality in the new replacement apps as has always been provided by iTunes.

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