Apple Could Be Preparing to Drive the Final Nail into iTunes

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When Apple announced macOS Catalina last year, it officially killed iTunes on the Mac, replacing it with a collection of individual macOS apps for Music, TV, and Podcasts, in much the same way that the iOS apps had been deployed for years.

While some had feared that this could spell the end of iTunes as we know it, with the powerful monolithic iTunes being superseded by a series of seriously scaled-down “dumb” apps, the reality turned out to be quite a bit more reassuring, as the spirit of iTunes lived on in the new Music app, which continued to support all of the same music-centric features that iTunes has had for years, even right down to things like importing and burning CDs.

For those who live in a Mac-centric world, however, it may have been pretty easy to miss the fact that iTunes actually was gone but not forgotten, as it has continued to live on in pretty much the exact same form as before for Windows users, where it even remains available on the Microsoft Store in addition to being directly downloadable from Apple’s own iTunes website.

Windows Could Be Catching Up

While it’s obviously a bit more challenging for Apple to bring the same sort of multi-app experience to Windows users, it stands to reason that it would eventually find some way to bring the Windows experience up to the same level.

Apple has generally been somewhat slower to move when it comes to its Windows software. For example, even though Apple broke Books out of iTunes into its own separate app several years ago, this remained baked into the Windows version of iTunes.

However, even leaving aside the fact that iTunes has become a bloated mess — something that’s especially true for Windows users — there’s also the complete lack of Apple TV+ support in the iTunes app. Apple introduced this to Mac users in the dedicated TV app in macOS Catalina last year, but at this point there’s no way for Windows users to enjoy Apple’s streaming service except by resorting to using a web browser.

Now, according to Italian blog Aggiornamenti Lumia (via 9to5Mac), it looks like a new app from Apple is “coming soon” to the Microsoft Store, which strongly suggests that Apple may finally be getting ready to replace iTunes on Windows in much the same way that it did for the Mac last year.

To be clear, this report doesn’t really add any insight into what this mysterious app may be; Apple also released a new iCloud for Windows app last year, so it obviously supports more than just iTunes on that platform, but with iTunes overdue for a replacement, and Apple no doubt eager to try and expand the reach of Apple TV+ more effectively to Windows users, it’s not at all hard to imagine that this could be a new replacement for iTunes on Windows.

That said, it’s also equally possible that Apple may not quite be ready for a wholesale replacement of iTunes on Windows, but may instead be looking to release a standalone TV app for Apple TV+, as it has done on the Mac and on a wide variety of smart TVs and set-top boxes.

Late last year Apple also began posting job listings looking for experienced engineers to “build the next generation of media apps for Windows,” which is a good indication that Apple is serious about upping its game when it comes to Windows users, since as much as the company would love it if every iPhone user bought a Mac, it’s not about to leave users of its flagship iPhone and iPad devices out in the cold just because they’d rather use Windows as their desktop platform of choice.

The App vs the Store

To be absolutely clear, none of this has anything to do with the iTunes Store, which isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. This of course is the place where Apple sells not only music tracks (for those who would still rather purchase music), but also movies and TV shows.

Arguably, the branding of both Apple’s media management app and Apple’s media store with the same name was always a bit confusing, but it also came from an era when it was all about the music. However, once the iTunes app finally goes away on Windows, it’s going to be much clearer that iTunes refers to Apple’s media store, which will probably be in business for many many more years to come.

[The information provided in this article has NOT been confirmed by Apple and may be speculation. Provided details may not be factual. Take all rumors, tech or otherwise, with a grain of salt.]

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