Apple to Replace iTunes With 3 Media Apps

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The current digital storefront will be replaced by Apple Music, Apple TV and Apple Podcasts.

Apple is saying goodbye to iTunes after 18 years. 

The tech giant on Monday announced that the online storefront for music, movies and more is being discontinued to make way for a suite of media apps.

In place of iTunes, Apple will roll out desktop apps Apple Music, Apple TV and Apple Podcasts that are designed to match the way media already is categorized on mobile devices like iPhones and iPads. 

"The future of iTunes is not one app, but three," Craig Federighi, vp software engineering at Apple, told the crowd at the company's annual Worldwide Developers Conference as he showed off the software suite. The update is part of the rollout of a new operating system for Mac computers, nicknamed Catalina. 

Apple describes the changes as simplifying the experience for consumers. Apple Music will now be the home for all Apple users' music, giving them access to over 50 million songs, playlists and music videos as well as their entire pre-existing music libraries — including downloaded and purchased music as well as songs ripped from a CD. The iTunes Music Store will now also live in the Apple Music app for purchasing songs and albums. 

Apple TV for desktop will mimic the experience of the app on other devices, offering third-party subscription channels and over 100,000 movies and TV shows to buy or rent. And when Apple's TV+ subscription for original shows launches this fall, it will also be available through the Apple TV app. 

The Podcasts app, meanwhile, will offer access to more than 700,000 shows in an environment similar to the pre-existing iPhone app. 

ITunes was a game changer when it launched in the early 2000s. The music industry had been crushed by a rise in illegal downloading through sites like Napster, but iTunes provided a legal way for consumers to, first, make digital copies of their physical CDs and, a few years later, to buy digital versions of songs and albums. Apple co-founder and former CEO Steve Jobs famously convinced all of the major record labels to offer their music in the online storefront. Over time, it added movies and TV shows that could be purchased or rented, as well as podcasts, apps and e-books. 

But music consumption has changed once again and iTunes' popularity has waned as more people turn to music streaming services. Apple launched its own such offering, Apple Music, in 2015. Today, the $15-per-month service has more than 50 million subscribers. 

Apple also has begun to invest more heavily in streaming video, with plans to launch video service Apple TV+ this fall. The company already offers streaming TV and movies through its TV app for Apple TV, iPad and iPhone. Podcasts, meanwhile, have had a dedicated app for iPhones and iPads since 2012. 

Apple rolled through a number of product and software announcements Monday during the more than two-hour keynote that kicked off WWDC, which runs through Friday in San Jose, California. On the software front, the company also showed off updates to tvOS, the operating system for its Apple TV set-top boxes. Among the updates are a new home screen, support for multiple users in the same home and access to the forthcoming Apple Arcade game subscription service. Users will also be able to control the Apple TV interface with Xbox and PlayStation game controllers.

Hardware also took center stage at Monday's event, where the company revealed a new Mac Pro featuring a display and processing capabilities targeted at the Hollywood filmmaker community.