(Pocket-lint) - Last year, Apple announced iTunes was being replaced on the Mac by three apps: Apple Music, Podcasts and Apple TV.
“Replaced” is the operative word. None of the features are going in the bin, so you can still sync music to your iPod. Or, indeed, your iPhone and iPad. You'll still be able to buy music and movies outright - or rent movies.
On Windows, things aren't changing. At least for the moment. So iTunes is still available as a download from the Windows Store. However, this will surely change eventually - it may just be re-skinned to align with the Apple Music app on macOS.
The iTunes Store will remain on iOS, while you'll still be able to buy music in the Apple Music app on Mac and the iTunes app on Windows. You'll still be able to buy, give and redeem iTunes gift vouchers.
How you'll sync your iPod, iPhone or iPad without iTunes
If you still sync media to your device using a cable, you will still be able to do so in the new apps.
When you connect a device to your Mac, it will also now show up in the sidebar of Finder, enabling you to backup, update or restore your device. Of course, a lot of people back up their iOS devices using iCloud, but this isn't an option with older devices.
What was wrong with iTunes
Everything. OK, we're being facetious, but it had become very clunky on all platforms. On Windows, it used to be extremely bad. While the experience has improved hugely, it was once the worst piece of big-name software available for Microsoft's platform; it almost constantly crashed.
iTunes had a classic case of feature creep - it was an app that started simply as a sync tool but in trying to do everything it became too sprawling and, frankly, confusing to use.
We're amazed it's lasted this long, but we expect Apple has been desperate to replace it for some time.
Why replace iTunes now?
Apple clearly wants to create apps that identify with its Apple Music and Apple TV+. The iTunes brand was always a bit of an odd fit for movies and TV shows for obvious reasons, so now's the time to split.
The Apple Music app is the main iTunes replacement
As you'd expect really. While the app will want you to have an Apple Music streaming subscription, you will still have access to your entire music library whether you downloaded the songs, purchased them or ripped them from a CD.
The iTunes Music Store will still be accessible through this app.
The Apple Podcasts app is the place for podcasts, remarkably
Very much like the iOS equivalent, the Podcasts app offers more than 700,000 shows and it'll notify you of new episodes as soon as they become available.
The Apple TV app is the place for iTunes movies and, of course, Apple TV+
The video-based elements of iTunes- the store for buying and renting - move into the Apple TV app, where there is also full 4K HDR. However, it's much more like the Apple TV app on iOS, so there's personalised recommendations and Up Next, where you can keep track of what you're currently watching and resume on any screen.
And, of course, it's the home of the Apple TV+ subscription service, too.