Apple has made the decision to kill off iTunes, the iconic digital music database that revolutionized the music industry. This news comes with the release of Apple’s latest update for Macs and MacBooks, MacOS Catalina. Just like iOS 13, which was recently released for iPhones, it offers a lot of new features for most Macs made in 2012 or later.
MacOS Catalina brings a host of new features, including the option to use apps from the iPad as well as turn the tablet into an additional display for computers.
This new operating system can be installed from the App Store, which should show it on its home page ready for download.
But it is perhaps most notable for the removal of an app rather than the addition of one. When it comes to music, iTunes is nowhere to be found in the new update.
In 2003, just two years after the iPod’s debut, Apple launched its iTunes Music Store. With simple pricing at launch; 99 cents a single and $9.99 for most albums, many consumers were content to buy music legally rather than seek out sketchy sites for pirated downloads.
Although over time, the iTunes software expanded to include podcasts, e-books, audiobooks, movies, and TV shows. When it came to the iPhone, iTunes also made backups and synced voice memos. As the software got bloated to support additional functions, iTunes lost the ease and simplicity that gave it its charm.
As technology improved, with online cloud storage and wireless syncing, it no longer became necessary to connect iPhones to a computer — and iTunes — with a cable.
The functions undertaken by iTunes in the latest mac update have been split into three apps that allow users to view music separately. There is now a devoted Music app, as well as separate ones for Podcasts and TV.
It’s a smart move considering Apple users have complained for years about how bloated iTunes had become. It works well now that everything has been separated, you don’t have to dig around iTunes to find your movies or the music tab. You can just open the app for what you need.
The Mac’s new Music app, which gets the old iTunes icon, is the new home for music. This includes songs previously bought from the iTunes store or ripped from CDs, as well as Apple’s free online radio stations. It’s also the home for Apple’s $10-a-month music subscription. You can browse your library, find new music on Apple Music if you pay for it, or buy and download new tunes.
Another thing is that Apple Music subscribers will no longer see the iTunes music store unless they restore it in settings. Non-subscribers will see the store as a tab, along with plenty of ways to subscribe to Apple Music. (On iPhones, iTunes Store remains its own app for buying music and video.)
You can now play your favorite podcasts and find new ones on Podcasts. A cool discovery feature I like also lets you search for content inside podcasts. Meaning, if there’s a person or topic you’re interested in, you can find out if it’s been mentioned in any podcasts through search.
Although a question that arises with this news is that of what will happen to users’ personal libraries; What will happen is that any downloaded MP3 files on a user’s hard drive will automatically be organized in the new Music application.
Catalina’s new Music app comes with its own set of problems, a distinct problem is a fact that it seems to be wreaking havoc on DJs who previously relied on the system’s use of XML file support to share playlists between applications.
Just like the Verge reports, Apple has rescinded a previous announcement that Music wouldn’t still support XML files, advising users who rely on it not to update until the issue is fixed. XML file support is important because it allows DJs to organize tracks into playlists and share them seamlessly with DJing applications such as Rekordbox and Traktor; without it, any previous sorting is rendered moot.
A variety of features that arrived with the release of iOS 13 and iPadOS earlier this year also come with the Mac update. Photos app has been redesigned to highlight the best images, the new “Find My” app for locating both friends and devices has also arrived on the Mac, and the Apple Arcade gaming subscription service has come to the Mac’s App Store.
Apple unveiled a new tool called Catalyst on Catalina, intended to allow developers to bring their apps for the iPad onto the Mac. New apps such as Twitter have already announced that they will be releasing new apps using that tool, with more expected to come after the release.
MacOS Catalina also brings a major accessibility update, called Voice Control. That allows the entire system to be controlled just using the voice and can be found in the accessibility settings within System Preferences.