iTunes? Do you remember that guy?

Without Apple Music, do we actually still need it installed in our laptops or, we already forgot about it?

When was the last time you used iTunes and why?

I already stopped using iTunes at all for almost two years now, this without even noticing it, but after a very much needed laptop update, I got a new MacBook Prod anI have not open iTunes even once since then, I haven’t even open it.

All this makes me wonder, what is the actual future of this piece of software, once indispensable, but now clearly forgettable.

The Hub

iTunes was built on similar principles as those exposed by Steve Jobs, about the then new and revolutionary iMac, during the late 90s. The iMac was purposely designed to be at the centre of our digital lives, a hub, able to handle and store all our multimedia (another popular term from that time that we barely use these days) music, pictures, videos, documents, both for consumption but also incentivising people to create.

Credit: happymacs.wordpress.com

Fast forward few years later and the iPod was presented, the promise of a thousand songs in your pocket was accompanied with a specific application to help you manage your music library, a music hub.

As things continued to evolve, iTunes kept adding functionalities, and its hub capabilities expanded from just music, to movies, TV shows, books and even mobile applications, it also became a store and started to become heavier, slower and not so easy to to use, simply not enjoyable. However, it was still necessary to do everything you needed to to with your iPod, but must importantly, your iPhone, as it also turned into the centre of command for Apple’s fast growing Smart Phone.

iTunes doing way more than just taking care of multimedia content — Credit: Apple.com

Few more years down the line, and Steve Jobs began to talk to us about the post-PC era. Yes, the point of time where we no longer require a laptop or desktop to do the majority of our tasks, not even the main ones. The mobile revolution had began and the personal computer stepped to the background of our digital lives, with this, Apple made the iPhone free, users were no longer required to plug their phones to set it up, although every time a new version of iOS was released, an iTunes intervention was still required.

Obviously, was just a matter of time for this final bit also to be completely removed from the laptop linkage, and turn the iPhone (and iPad) into fully independent stand-alone device, basically the cliche phrase we were hearing from years of “a computer in your pocket” became a literal reality.

That takes us to the main point of this piece. Today, there is no one single reason that will require you to plug the phone to you personal computer, as matter of fact, we all probably know at least one person that doesn’t have a computer at home anymore, just an iPhone; hence, no reason to interface with iTunes.

The Problem

It’s just too much.

It has too much, it does too much, it holds too much.

The main problem with iTunes is that it became a behemoth piece of software, that today is intended to do so many things, and provide so many services, that it is overwhelming.

The tipping point for me was when Apple Music came out; I was trialling it on my phone, but it was time to check its desktop counterpart. It was shocking.

As it was recently updated to its latest version that included the new steaming capabilities the layout and the interface was different, to this, added the fact that at the time I’ve been solely using Spotify for over a year.

I didn’t recognise it, and took me a couple of seconds to find my way around it. For the first time in many years as an Apple user I had to actually think how to do what I wanted, in this case, to listen to music, into their music app. That was a profound moment.

Think about it, if you open Spotify, there’s mainly one thing you can do, play music. Yes, they been adding other forms of media, but music still the main thing, and even if you never seen it before, you will be prompted to check their playlist.

Because of the baggage iTunes currently holds and the amount of stuff that have been packed into it, you no longer have that simplicity of a dedicated app, but also that user experience that used to characterise Apple in the first place.

Future?

The question for me is, what is or can be the future of this application, that still very present, even indispensable into our mobile devices, but that unless you are an Apple Music user, you rarely interact with on a laptop or desktop? To be honest, do you even want to?

Is it time for Apple to remove the clutter and provide us with an Entertainment/Media-only app similar to the Apple TV experience? Or we just forget about it?

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