iTunes is set to be phased out in favour of a more diverse set of desktop apps, while other updates are planned for watchOS, iOS, iPads and the Mac Pro
Apple is to introduce major software changes at its World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC) this week, including ousting iTunes for a number of distinct apps, unifying development across MacOS computers and iOS devices and making gadgets such as the Apple Watch and the iPad more independent.
iTunes has been the main console for Apple devices on PCs and Macs for nearly 20 years, but this year the firm is ready to shift away from the tool in favour of three separate Music, TV and Podcast apps, according to various reports citing sources familiar with the plans.
The Music app can be used to manage Apple devices similar to the way iTunes does now, while the TV and Podcast tools are intended as desktop versions of apps already found on iPhones and iPads.
Those apps support Apple’s plans, announced last year, to carry out a major plan of investment in TV content and other media.
Along with a planned shift in Apple’s developer strategy that makes it easier for apps to work across Macs and iOS devices, the move is part of Apple’s shift to build up its revenues from content and services as iPhone sales decline.
Apple’s App Store is the main driver of Apple’s services segment, based on the firm’s 30 percent cut of all sales through the store, although that practice is under scrutiny by regulators in the US and Europe.
Unifying Mac and iOS development could give Apple more revenues from Mac app sales, while potentially diversifying the range of software available for Macs.
At WWDC, which begins on Monday in San Jose, California, Apple is expected to introduce developer tools that make it easier for a single app to work across Macs, iPhones and iPads.
A new version of the Apple Watch operating system, watchOS 6, is expected to make the devices more independent by adding a separate app store and new apps such as a calculator and a voice recorder, as well as new messaging features.
Apple added cellular connectivity to the Apple Watch two years ago.
The iPad is also set to gain more independence with changes to the home screen and improvements to multitasking.
The updates, set to be introduced in iOS 13, are aimed at turning making iPads more capable of replacing laptops.
Other iOS upgrades include updates to Apple’s Reminders and Health apps and new features for Maps, Messages, Apple Books and Mail.
Apple is also said to be planning to merge its Find My iPhone and Find My Friends tools into a single tracking app and to be introducing a Dark Mode that makes devices easier on the eyes in low light.
Apple occasionally shows upcoming hardware at WWDC, and this year is said to be considering showing a new version of the Mac Pro workstation and a new display.
The new Mac Pro would be the first update to the company’s high-end desktop range since 2017.