At the WWDC 2019 keynote in San Jose on Monday, Apple killed off iTunes for the Mac, replacing it with dedicated applications for Music, Podcasts, and TV. Even though iTunes for Mac has been finally laid to rest, Apple has now confirmed that iTunes for Windows will live on for the foreseeable future. As a result, iPhone, iPad, and - the few remaining - iPod touch users on Windows will have to live with iTunes, which has become quite bloated and heavy over the years.
Apple told Ars Technica that the Windows version of iTunes will remain unchanged and work exactly like it has done in the past, at least, for the foreseeable future. It remains to be seen if new features added to the macOS Music, Podcasts, and TV apps in the future will make their way onto iTunes for Windows. The news is not exactly shocking, as Apple has a penchant of keeping its services within the confines of its walled garden, and has been seen to prioritise development for its own platforms. Apple Music for Android and iTunes for Windows are some of the few services the Cupertino-based tech giant has made available for other platforms.
The death of iTunes has been long time coming. Paid music downloads and audio CDs have given way to subscription-based music streaming services like Spotify, Prime Music, and Apple's own Apple Music. Even official music charts like USA's Billboard Charts and UK's Official Charts have started taking streaming plays into account.
Apple Music in macOS Catalina will import a user's entire existing music library - including the songs not purchased via Apple or ripped via audio CDs. Apple also confirmed that the iTunes Store, which changed the face of the music industry back in 2003, will continue to live on in the Sidebar of the Apple Music app on macOS Catalina. Mac users who want to sync files to their iPhone/ iPad/ iPod the old fashioned way can still do so via the Finder. The iPhone/ iPad/ iPod will appear in Finder's sidebar akin to any external USB drive. It must be noted that the sync interface will be similar to the one found currently in iTunes - you won't see a simple file system sadly.
In a newly published support document, Apple detailed the exact changes users should expect. It says music playlists and smart playlists that users have created in iTunes will be in the new Apple Music app. It elaborated that the iTunes Store will still be available to buy music on Mac, iOS, PC, and Apple TV. The iTunes Store can be hidden in Apple Music, if users want to "simplify the experience further." Apple also revealed that iTunes Gift Cards and iTunes credits will be maintained and can be used with the new apps and the App Store.
Also mentioned by Apple is that movies and TV shows that users purchased or rented from iTunes will be in the new Apple TV app. All future movie and TV purchases or rentals will of course be via the new Apple TV app for Mac. Podcasts that users subscribed to or added to iTunes will now be in the new Apple Podcasts app. Audiobooks that users purchased from iTunes will now be in the updated Apple Books app, which will be the app for future audiobook purchases.