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We may very soon be seeing the final end of the iTunes era if a new set of reports about Apple and Microsoft’s plans are true.
Although Apple killed iTunes on the Mac two years ago with the release of macOS Catalina, the monolithic app has continued to live on in the world of Windows PCs, where arguably it’s become an even bigger bloated mess than it was for Mac users.
It wasn’t originally clear back in 2019 what Apple intended to do for iTunes on the Windows platform; some believed it would simply continue maintaining it as a single app, at least partly simply due to a lack of desire to develop for the rival desktop platform, while others suspected that Windows users would soon be given the same multi-app treatment as Mac users.
A report last spring suggested that Apple was indeed working on killing iTunes on Windows as well in favour of a series of standalone apps, although at the time the report was fairly vague, noting only that a “new Apple app” was “coming soon” to the Microsoft Store. This left the matter open to some speculation, since iTunes isn’t the only app that Apple supports on Windows — there’s also the regularly updated iCloud for Windows app, although that’s nothing new.
Other possibilities suggested that Apple was preparing a TV app for Windows users, since the Windows version of iTunes has never gained support for Apple’s new Apple TV+ streaming service, leaving PC folks to watch Apple’s originals in their web browser.
That said, Apple has also been recruiting experienced Windows software developers since at least late 2019, with the job listings saying that they would be building “the next generation of media apps for Windows,” so it seemed pretty clear that Apple was up to something, and while this team has already succeeded in creating the Apple TV app for Xbox, if there was ever an app that needed to have its swan song, it’s iTunes for Windows.
In fact, iTunes on the Windows side has already been lagging behind its Mac counterpart in other key areas. For instance, when Apple split out Apple Books (née “iBooks”) into a standalone app on the Mac several years ago, it didn’t follow suit on the PC side, leaving users with a sub-par experience, and it’s continued to leave other elements in iTunes for Windows that had long been removed from the Mac version even after its final demise two years ago.
Music and Podcasts … for Windows?
The good news is that a new day may soon be coming for those iPhone and iPad users who still need to or want to live in the world of Windows.
Sources speaking with 9to5Mac have revealed that Apple has already begun testing new Music and Podcasts apps for Windows in a private beta.
That said, it’s entirely possible that these could be designed for Xbox users, rather than Windows users, particularly since Apple recently released its TV app for Xbox, so it does sound like these could simply be the next two added to round out the complete set, and the absence of any mention of Apple Books, which would obviously be pointless on an Xbox, also lends some credence to this theory.
Still, it’s hard to say what the actual plan is. Over the past two years, Apple’s TV app has been rolling out across the entire sphere of smart TVs, set-top boxes, and game consoles to deliver support for its Apple TV+ streaming service. On the other hand, the deployment of Apple Music has been considerably more limited, and Apple Podcasts even more so.
Further, it’s hard to believe that Apple wouldn’t want to put a final end to iTunes for Windows sooner rather than later, since it must be a headache for Apple to try and support, and it really isn’t helping the company put its best foot forward when it comes to drawing Windows users into the Apple ecosystem.
[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.]