The end of iTunes? Apple expected to announce music service closure

iTunes has been central for 18 years but perhaps will now hand over the reins to other apps.
Written by Charlie Osborne, Contributing Writer

As one of the first cohesive digital music and playlist management services, over the last 18 years, iTunes has established itself as a popular app on Apple devices.

However, years have flown by since the iPad and iPhone maker first launched the service, and now it may be time for iTunes to step back in favor of new, separate content applications.

The closure of iTunes, as reported by Bloomberg, is expected to make up part of the Keynote address undertaken by Apple CEO Tim Cook on Monday when he takes to the stage at Apple's annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Jose, California.

This year's WWDC is expected to focus on Apple's desire to become an entertainment services and applications firm, rather than remaining focused on hardware in an increasingly competitive market.  

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It is possible that iTunes does not fit the firm's business model any longer as a central hub for music and content purchases, and so, Apple reportedly will unveil changes to the platform which include slicing up iTunes into three different applications: Music, TV, and Podcasts.

"That matches Apple's media app strategy on iPhones and iPads," Bloomberg says. "Without iTunes, customers can manage their Apple gadgets through the Music app."

The potential move makes sense. Our apps and content streaming services are becoming more streamlined, and these days, iTunes does seem clunky -- as well as being something of a memory hog.

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In comparison to rival music services such as Spotify, iTunes simply doesn't cut it. iTunes was built to allow users to rip music from their CDs and download music from legitimate sources rather than rely on P2P pirating, and as Apple shifts to subscription services and streaming, it makes sense to cut up iTunes into three separate revenue models.  

The looming closure has been rumored since the launch of Apple Music in 2015, and with the creation of a music subscription service, iTunes' download model has not kept up with the times.

Apple Music has roughly 56 million subscribers worldwide, in comparison to over 100 million supported by Spotify.

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Retiring the platform and making it easier for customers to consume media without having to access the single iTunes hub is one part of the puzzle, but developers, too, need to be considered.

To help facilitate the shift, developers will also receive a set of new iOS app tools at WWDC. These tools will help developers create iOS apps for Mac and desktop systems, which in turn will help create a unified front towards apps, with the overall goal being improving app compatibility and cohesion across the entire iOS ecosystem.

A new Apple Watch or iPhone is not expected at this year's WWDC. However, Apple often showcases some form of device at the conference, and this years' may reportedly be a new MacBook Pro model. 

Apple is also expected to overhaul a range of apps and to bring out new augmented reality features in ARKit. 

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