The Industry

Apple Is Finally Ditching iTunes

The iTunes logo on a screen onstage.
Apple debuted iTunes in 2001.
Lionel Bonaventure/AFP/Getty Images

Ahead of Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference next week, Bloomberg is reporting that the company will announce the end of its signature iTunes media platform. Apple will replace iTunes with three separate apps: Music, TV, and Podcasts.

Debuting in 2001, iTunes had its heyday in the 2000s as a virtual jukebox in which people could store their 99-cent MP3 purchases from the online Music Store. Apple originally marketed the platform as a tool for burning custom mixes onto CDs, and then as a playlist organizer for the then newly released iPod. The platform eventually expanded to include podcasts and TV shows in 2005 and movies in 2006, and eventually hosted the Genius algorithm that could build playlists based on users’ tastes.

With the advent of streaming, tech analysts have been predicting the end of iTunes for at least three years. Apple’s iPhones and iPads have forgone iTunes for stand-alone video, music, and podcast apps for quite some time now. The Apple Music streaming service has been the default for devices for a while. It’s only Mac computers that still use the iTunes platform. As Rolling Stone suggests, phasing out iTunes fits in with Apple’s overall strategy to become an entertainment services provider. Sales for its marquee iPhone lines have begun to lose steam in recent years, so Apple has been exploring new markets with TV, payment, newspaper, and gaming products. Users have also long had complaints about iTunes’ clunky integration and syncing features.

We’re likely to get the full details of iTunes’ retirement during the WWDC keynote speech on Monday.