Is Apple splitting up iTunes? Here’s how they’ll do it

“Rumors of Apple dismantling iTunes are almost as old as the software itself,” Kirk McElhearn writes for Intego’s Mac Security Blog. “A recent report on 9to5Mac suggests that Apple is, indeed, planning to release standalone apps to replicate some of iTunes’ features.”

“So if Apple releases an Apple TV app for the Mac, to purchase, rent, and view movies and TV shows, iTunes will likely still be the backend for managing local files (such as home movies or DVD rips), and for syncing. The same is the case for a standalone Music app. Why not create an app that replicates the iOS Music app, allowing users to play music from Apple Music, and to manage music in an iCloud Music Library? (In my music podcast, The Next Track, my co-host Doug Adams and I discussed how this would work),” McElhearn writes. “And why not do the same for podcasts? If anything, podcasts are the easiest type of content to split out of iTunes, because for many people, they are disposable. You subscribe to podcasts, you listen to episodes, then you move on; most people don’t keep a library of podcast episodes (though some certainly do).”

“Don’t forget that a significant number of iTunes users run Microsoft Windows. Would Windows get standalone apps, too?,” McElhearn writes. “That seems doubtful; I think this is a Mac-only strategy, because of the ability to easily port iOS apps to macOS using Marzipan. The future could hold a similar type of app on Windows, but I wouldn’t expect it any time soon. And the fact that so many iTunes users run Windows is probably the main reason that Apple has no short- or medium-term plans to get rid of the iTunes app.”

“So those of you who want to drive a stake through iTunes’ heart, don’t start rejoicing yet. iTunes will likely be around for many years to come, and perhaps it’s time to choose another fight,” McElhearn writes. “If you don’t use all of iTunes’ features, just ignore them. They don’t get in your way, and if you’re a Mac user, you may soon have new alternatives to make it easier to access and play your media.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: iTunes will still be with us for many, many years. Which is good, since it’s the easiest way back up our iOS devices.

The new Music, Podcasts, and TV apps will be made using Marzipan, a process which, hopefully, has come quite a bit further than we saw with Apple’s initial ports of the News, Voice Memos, Stocks, and Home apps from iOS to macOS.

With Music for macOS coming soon, legacy iTunes features will disappear or spread to iOS – April 11, 2019
Apple’s macOS 10.15 will include standalone Music, Podcasts, and TV apps – April 10, 2019


  1. Everyone except lazy Apple has wanted iTunes to be split into manageable apps for a long time. Yes, that means intentionally breaking the stupid hard links that Apple never revealed to Mac users, such as how Safari cookie settings affect iTunes behavior and how hidden metadata tags exist that are not visible in any iTunes view.

    But iTunes is just one of the main problem of the thoroughly rotten Mac app mess.

    Once upon a time iLife was focused on empowering the user. It was the main reason that average users would pay more to get a Mac. It had: iTunes, iMovie, iPhoto, iDVD, iWeb and GarageBand. Most of these were watered down versions of pro software that Apple used to maintain as industry leading media production software (Aperture, Logic, etc). Now Apple has abandoned pro customers and looks to have completely lost its focus on Mac owners who like to manage their own collections too. This adrift Mac software management from Apple has to end pronto.

    My suggestion: Invest for the long term. Cookie has taken his eye off the ball so badly that now a major restoration of Mac apps is dire and necessary.

    First fire the top two layers of do-nothing management who were in charge of iLife apps in the last decade, and take Cookie with you. The dead wood must be replaced with people who actually understand what a Mac PERSONAL COMPUTER can do.They must be sworn to protect personal user controls for all applications, prioritize the user’s ability to create and manage his own stuff, not relying on constant internet connection for every little thing, and not constantly trying to sell you a goddamned subscription. There are plenty of other places to sell subscriptions.

    Next, offer a major cleaning and upgrading of every Pro level Mac app. This has to be done and advertised like crazy. Make a big deal out of it. Swear to keep software and hardware updated and competitive. Charge what the apps are worth with non-subscription options.

    Next, delight users by rolling out a state of the art Network Attached storage (NAS) that is sold as an expandable secure personal cloud. Make it the most secure, fast, easiest to use, and offer it as an alternative for prosumers and consumers to rely on untrustworthy cloud purveyors. Then say “one more thing” and tell people what they can put on the all new Apple Personal Cloud. Roll out a completely refreshed low cost (NOT FREE) iLife suite – including all the classic titles – to take advantage of the latest Mac and Apple Personal Cloud NAS capabilities. The apps should all talk to each other seamlessly but not be reliant on the other apps to be installed in order to function. Do not make then dumbed down for iOS or Apple’s rental iCloud in any way. Rental iCloud features should be an option that the user would need to install separately, requiring opt-in for that server rental service. The apps would all have a clear, simply indicator showing where your master file is located (Mac, Thunderbolt Drive, Personal Cloud, or rental iCloud) as well as what copies are located on which of your iOS devices.

    Yes changes to iLife would be definitely needed including to break up iTunes into individual missions. At least 10 apps would be needed, most which have existed for a long time but need dramatic refreshing.

    iTunes for local music management, playback, and light editing only.
    iMovie for local video management, playback, and light editing only (all of the much missed Quicktime 7 Pro functions and many excellent VLC features included).
    iBooks for local print file management. Buy and incorporate the functions of Yep! so that a person’s digital print library can be properly maintained.
    Podcasts for all podcast management
    Apple Media Store for all media purchase (audio, video, books, and mixed media)
    Apple Music for music rental
    MacTV for video rental
    MacNews for subscribing to curated stories
    iRadio for internet streaming radio stations
    iOS Manager for backing up and managing iOS devices and interfacing all the other Mac apps to sync to iOS.
    iTunes U for educational materials and howework management

    That’s just the start. Can someone please explain why Cookie can’t envision this??????

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