Article: The Future of iTunes

by on September 11, 2012

Publisher’s Note: This post originally appeared late last night on A Modern Day Drifter and has been republished here at Matt’s request, especially since Matt is a guest writer on SchwarzTech every so often. I feel that it is a worthwhile read, and quite thought-provoking. – ES

Part 1

On September 12, Apple is hosting, what most believe will be, the first of two events in the coming months, likely to announce the first of four new products – the iPhone 5. Unlike previous years, enough leaks from manufactures have left little to speculation. If you want to see what the iPhone 5 looks like, here. 4-inch Retina screen, A6 processor, 4G LTE, smaller dock connector, metal backing, no NFC – shipping with iOS 6. We’ve heard so much about it, I wouldn’t heckle you if you thought it was already announced and on-sale.

Part 2

Likely, toward the end of October, Apple will be playing host once again to announce an 8-inch iPad. You can expect it to be exactly like The new iPad with a smaller screen and sport the new dock connector. It will likely be a small, on-campus Apple event. Perhaps, Apple will have a new data deal with carriers or a content-related announcement to accompany.

Bonus Features

It is reasonable to expect two additional announcements, both noteworthy, but neither large enough to carry their own events. First, new iPods. Likely the iPod line-up will get a refresh, new styles, more colors, larger iPod touch screen, perhaps more capacity. Second, the 13-inch Macbook Pro with Retina display. Each could be announced at either event. I’m betting both will be announced on September 12.

Post Credits

Despite the fact that manufacturer leaks, and Apple’s own predictability, leaves little suspense in coming events, there is still something fascinating on the horizon that might give Apple fans something to satisfy their desire to be surprised. The future of iTunes.

No matter how large of an Apple fan you are, it’s almost universally agreed upon – iTunes has become a bloated, finicky-at-best, out-dated application. Currently, the app manages the following: Movies, TV Shows, Podcasts, Radio, Books, iTunes U, Apps, iTunes Match, iTunes Music Store, iOS App Store, iBookstore, Movie store and rentals, Ringtones, Ping, Audiobooks, Home Sharing, iOS backups, syncing, and oh, it plays music too. So, what does the next iTunes look like? Well if iOS is any indication, perhpas iTunes will be scrapped and sold for parts.

Reboot

iOS took iTunes and created separate apps to manage users’ content. Music, Movies, iTunes Store, App Store, iOS Backups, Podcasts, iTunes U, Books are all managed separately in iOS. Content purchasing is separated from consumption. Music and video are separate apps. Backups have been relegated to iCloud. Radio is non-existent, maybe? Ping has two feet in the grave, and the Cloud is a growing.

What stands in the way of the parsing out of iTunes? Well, iTunes makes Apple money. While iTunes-related profits are a small slice of Apple’s pie, it’s nothing to scoff away. The problem might be Windows. Steve Jobs once joked that iTunes for Windows was “like giving a glass of ice water to somebody in Hell.” iTunes allows Apple to give windows users one application to do everything. Shipping multiple apps for Windows doesn’t seem to make sense.

If you’re a Mac user you might have missed it. If you’re windows owner that uses Safari, I doubt you did. Apple has yet to update Safari for windows signaling that perhaps Apple doesn’t feel the pressing need to accommodate Windows users. Could the same be true for iTunes?

After years, Apple might be at a place to once again go after one of it’s largest areas for growth – users switching from Windows. Apple has started, and will perhaps finish, cutting the cord between iOS and iTunes. Meaning, continuing to support iTunes for non-Mac users should have a low-impact on non-Mac, iOS users. Furthermore, Apple might be popular, and profitable, enough to finally put their foot down and say, “if you want the best experience, buy a mac”. It might work.

The iPhone 5 and 8-inch iPad might dominate the news cycle in the coming weeks, but I think what Apple decides to do with iTunes might be most telling.

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