Apple confirmed the end of an era on Monday — no more iTunes. The music store available for years on iPods and iPhones has been overshadowed by streaming services, like the company's own Apple Music, and it will soon be phased out, Apple announced at its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) on Monday.
The new MacOS Catalina will have an iTunes replacement simply called Music, CNET reports. A new Podcast and Apple TV app with updated features will also be rolled out.
This change had been the subject of speculation in the days leading up to WWDC, with Bloomberg reporting that iTunes was expected be replaced by separate apps for music, TV and podcasts. The change was officially announced by Apple CEO Tim Cook and other company executives at the conference keynote in San Jose, California.
"Customers love iTunes and everything it can do. But if there's one thing we hear over and over, it's 'Can iTunes do even more?'" said Craig Federighi, Apple's senior vice president of software engineering.
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Several internet sleuths reported spotting clues about the change in advance. Reddit users noticed all of the posts on the iTunes Instagram and Facebook pages have been deleted. Other Apple fans noticed the company moved the content on the iTunes Facebook page to the Apple TV page. And possible leaked images of the three new apps to replace iTunes were revealed on a Mac blog.
iTunes became a staple in the music industry with the advent of the first iPod in 2001. Apple gave consumers an easy — and legal — way to download music right from the iTunes store. Songs started at just 99 cents and now cost an average of $1.29. The current iTunes store not only has 50 million songs, but it also has TV shows and movies available for purchase.
As streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music compete for customers, pay-per-song platforms, like iTunes seem to be falling by the wayside. An Apple Music subscription currently allows customers to listen to songs they previously bought and downloaded from iTunes. It is unclear what will happen to individual songs bought on iTunes if the service does go dark.