Apple has announced iTunes is being replaced by three apps on the Mac. Apple Music, Podcasts and Apple TV.
“Replaced” is the operative word. None of the functionality is going in the bin, so you can still sync music to your iPod. Or, indeed, your iOS and iPad. You'll still be able to buy music and movies outright - or rent movies.
On Windows, we have been told that the iTunes experience will stay the same at present. However, as we expect the iTunes app to disappear eventually, this will surely change - it may well be that it is just 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.
We believe the iTunes app itself will remain on Macs for at least the next version - macOS Catalina 10.15. So it'll be present alongside the new apps.
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 and while the experience on Windows has improved hugely, it was once the worst piece of big-name software on the platform and constantly crashed.
It's an app that started simply as a sync tool but is more guilty of feature creep than most apps in history. It tried to do everything but becoming 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 forthcoming Apple TV+ services. 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 ahead of the Apple TV+ launch.
The Apple Music app is the main iTunes replacement
As you'd expect really. While we reckon the app will obviously be designed to push you towards an Apple Music 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, 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'll be the home of the upcoming Apple TV+ subscription service, too.