Friday, May 31, 2019

The End of iTunes

Mark Gurman:

iTunes has been the way Apple users listen to music, watch movies and TV shows, hear podcasts, and manage their devices for almost two decades. This year, Apple is finally ready to move into a new era. The company is launching a trio of new apps for the Mac – Music, TV, and Podcasts – to replace iTunes. That matches Apple’s media app strategy on iPhones and iPads. Without iTunes, customers can manage their Apple gadgets through the Music app.

Joe Rossignol:

This information lines up with a recent report from 9to5Mac’s Guilherme Rambo, who claimed that iTunes will be renamed to “Music” on the Mac. In other words, iTunes is going away and will be replaced by the new Music app, which is expected to become the new utility for syncing and managing Apple devices.

Allen Pike:

Surprisingly, this new app is said to be based not on the iOS app or a new codebase, but on the venerable iTunes itself.

There will surely be naysayers that claim iTunes should have been tossed entirely. And admittely, if the new Music app ditches iTunes’ interface but can’t cure its deep and baffling love for obtuse modal error dialogs, I too will bemoan its preservation. But arguing for code to be rewritten just because it’s old has never been the right way to build systems that work.

He has a great collection of iTunes error messages.

See also: Stephen Hackett.

Previously: macOS 10.15 to Break Up iTunes.

Update (2019-06-03): Craig Hockenberry:

I haven’t seen it reported elsewhere, but as of last weekend all links redirect to — a likely indicator that the brand is done (the app will be fine for those of us who need it.)

Joe Rossignol:

As noted on Reddit, Apple has abruptly removed all social media content from its iTunes page on Facebook, including posts, photos, and videos. This appears to have happened within the past 24 hours, as a cached version of the iTunes page on Facebook still had content available as of May 31.

See also: Hacker News.

8 Comments RSS · Twitter

[…] Allen Pike (via Michael Tsai): […]


As a “creative professional” musician and DJ, im terrified about this. Because of its historical dominance, iTunes is the ONLY game in the town for managing large music libraries on the Mac. If it ends up neutered, it will severely impact the quality of life of people like myself.

Depending on how they handle this and the 32-bit deprecation, I will probably be staying on Mojave for the foreseeable future.

The one part of Itunes that has worked flawlessly for me every single time is the part that manages my media library and plays selections from it.

The part that has given me more headaches than anything else is the entire synching to idevices part.

So, Apple is keeping the part that pretty much just works, which will still be joined at the hip to the part that is most woefully broken. Heck of a job they're doing there.

@Glaurung: I concur. The "old" Library part of iTunes works great (especially in "Songs" view). It's all of the new stuff they started adding a few years ago that sucks -- For You, Browse, Store, etc.

I'm dead serious -- this is Apple's last chance to surprise and delight me. If they fuck up iTunes, I'm done. If I can't manage my personal music collection, including editing tags, creating smart playlists, viewing in Songs mode and rearranging the columns however I like, and using iTunes Match to sync my music to the cloud so I can listen to it on-demand from my iPhone and iPad, I am fucking done with this company (I don't subscribe to their Music service because it sucks compared to Spotify -- which is a pretty low bar -- so any features having to do with that are meaningless to me).

I've been using Macs since 1991 (and before that, Apple IIgs) and buying them for myself since 1998. I'm on my 6th Mac in 21 years, and my current one is from 2014 (!!!). I remember the high prices, the bad years where the old Mac OS sucked, and how long it took before OS X was really ready for prime time. But I also remember how great things were just 5 years ago, when Macs (and iPhones!) were affordable, not crippled, they included all the ports, and everything mostly just worked. And in 2014, OS X was very obviously _vastly_ superior to Windows and Linux. I'm not so sure if that's still true?

Now everything is so much more expensive (even as same spec PCs are SO MUCH cheaper), Apple has become greedy as fuck, makes their computers completely NON-upgradable, jacks up the prices with stupid stuff like Touch Bar, while removing the things that people DO need, falls behind on processor updates, still includes a spinning hard disk on iMacs even though SSD are commodity parts these days, has degraded the Apple Retail Store support experience, still includes only 5 GB of free iCloud space, and goes many years without updating stuff like the Mac Mini and Mac Pro. The list goes on and on. Can they not dance and chew gum at the same time? Give me a break.

Tim Cook can kiss my ass. I don't care how much he says "Steve Jobs is a permanent part of the DNA of Apple" or whatever. It's a lie. Yeah, Steve wasn't perfect, but on the whole, Apple most certainly DID change for the worse after he died. I don't recognize this company anymore. Their products have become more expensive, with many useless 'features' added, while removing the things that pros and creatives absolutely NEED. I mean this whole MBP keyboard debacle really shows what's going on (or rather, NOT going on -- Steve Jobs would have never stood for this!) at Apple. Even the people who have been there for a long time seem to have lost their goddamn minds, or they are pushing back internally but nobody is listening? Who knows.

But here in 2019, I look at the MBP -- it's too expensive, doesn't include the ports I need, and on top of that, the keyboard doesn't work! Thankfully my 2014 MBP is doing fine, still seems fast enough and has all of the ports I need -- I used my SD Card last night! -- including two USB 3.0 ports (because the Thunderbolt 2 ports are already totally obsolete and nothing new is made for TB2 -- way to plan for the future, Apple! And we all know the compatibility problems between the newer MBP with TB3 / USB-C and having to make sure you don't have an incompatible cable or an incompatible dongle, even though the connectors match.)

I mean really, Apple has turned buying a Mac into an expensive shitshow of dongles and terrible keyboards. Don't even get me started on them also trying to lock down OS X. I still get annoyed having to Control-Click -> Open just to open a file that's not signed by a registered Apple Developer. I'd say, could they make it more annoying? And they scary answer is, Yes They Can, and Yes They Probably Will.

It does make me sad to think that my next computer (when this 2014 MBP dies) will probably be a Lenovo. I'll likely dual boot Linux as my daily driver and Windows when I need to run MS Office or some technical software that's Windows-only. Or maybe by then Windows will be improved enough to entice me to not need Linux (especially with the recent news that MS is building a Linux terminal into Windows). I spec'ed a Dell XPS 15 with 4K display compared to a similar MBP, the Dell is $1,949 and the MBP is $2,599 (and display is not 4K). Lenovo Carbon X1? $1,609 with WQHD display. Plus all the ports, plus great keyboards.

I often work with Arduino and other stuff that needs to use the command-line and most other things I do are on the web or have a Linux app. Other than iMessage and iTunes, nothing much else I use is Mac-only. I fear that if Apple keeps on the path they're going with the Mac, many of the companies that (thankfully) currently *do* offer Mac compatibility will abandon it. If Apple doesn't support tinkerers and tech-types, why should those types of companies support the Mac? It seems like the tide is reversing and many companies just aren't considering the Mac anymore like they did just a few years ago (which was quite the difference compared to 10 or 20 years ago!!). Even some of the best software that I use, like VLC, is really a Linux app ported to the Mac. And if VLC is so much better than QuickTime, what does that say about Apple? Apple itself has abandoned the Mac in many ways. I don't think the solution is "put iOS apps on the Mac" because iOS is already anti-tinkering and locked down. And needless to say, if they switch the Mac to ARM processors and there's no way to dual boot Windows or Linux, and they give developers another hurdle to jump over to bring their apps to the Mac, then Apple will have made my decision for me.

I'll end my rant now... :)

The leaked screenshot of Music looks like it was done by a new intern who'd never heard of Fitts' Law.

You don't put your most-used controls near the centre of a window. You especially don't put those centred controls in a subview that changes width in the presence of a sidebar. If that's a back button, you don't separate it visually and spacially from the content it affects. If it's instead a sidebar-collapse button, you don't make it look like a back button. You don't use icon colours as an esthetic gradient, you make them visually distinct and static. You don't make everything else vague, white, and underdifferentiated.

“You don't use icon colours as an esthetic gradient, you make them visually distinct and static.”

That was my first thought. This looks HORRIBLE.

Good comments from all. Well done.

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