Apple Has No Plans for Music, Podcasts, and TV Apps on Windows

Posted on June 4, 2019 by Paul Thurrott in Apple, Music + Videos with 43 Comments

Confirming our suspicions, Apple will ignore Windows as it moves its ecosystem past iTunes and it has no plans to release Music, Podcasts, or TV apps on the world’s most popular desktop platform.

As you must have heard, Apple held its annual WWDC keynote address yesterday, a glitzy event that is more about consumer product announcements than the developer topics at the center of the show itself. Among the many announcements was macOS 10.15—yes, the fifteenth version of macOS—which will include native Apple Music, Podcasts, TV apps, as has been the case on iOS for years. iTunes, as was rumored, is dead.

Or is it?

Apple, as I guessed, is not releasing Music, Podcasts, or TV apps for Windows, a platform that is literally 15 times bigger than macOS. We know this because there are 1.5 billion Windows users worldwide, and Apple announced yesterday that there are just 100 million Mac users. Instead, Windows users will have to make do with iTunes. Which will almost certainly never be updated again in any material way.

“Apple says users of iTunes [on] Microsoft Windows will not see any changes,” an Ars Technica article claims, citing “some broad answers” it got from Apple. “It won’t be broken up into several apps; it will work just like it does now … The company says that Windows users will continue to have the same experience as before and that it is not announcing any plans to end support for iTunes in Windows.”

Ars guesses that things could change in the future. And sure, that is one possible outcome. But it’s more likely that Apple will continue to ignore the platforms it can’t control as much as possible. It only supports these platforms when absolutely required, as it does with Apple Music (only) on Android, the most popular computing platform. Apple Music is on Android for the same reason that iTunes was back in 2003: Apple simply has no choice, due to the popularity of that platform and the edge it gives to competing services like Spotify.

“So, iTunes is not really dead,” Ars writes. “At least not yet.”

Wrong. iTunes is dead. It’s just the walking dead on Windows. Which is exactly how Apple likes it.

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Comments (44)

44 responses to “Apple Has No Plans for Music, Podcasts, and TV Apps on Windows”

  1. Yaggs

    Let's face it... if you are a primarily a Windows user you shouldn't be buying your stuff from Apple... even if you use an iPhone... you should be getting you content from other sources. If Apple was serious about expanding their service offerings they wouldn't lock so many of them down to Apple only hardware.

    • lvthunder

      In reply to Yaggs:

      Why? Apple Music works just fine on my Windows machine. The movies and TV shows I've bought in iTunes still works fine in Windows.

      • spullum

        In reply to lvthunder:

        I think people just want some kind of battle all the time.

        It's not the applications, really, it's the functionality they provide. Apple is going to focus on its own operating systems first, but as you wisely stated, the functionality remains solid on Windows. If they suddenly announce iTunes is going away with no replacement, sure.

        Apple has and is expanding a few strategic services to other platforms. First iTunes (the media ecosystem) to Windows, then Apple Music to Android, and now Sign in with Apple to the web, Windows, and Android.

  2. dcdevito

    Windows is dead, who is surprised by this?

  3. smahoneysr

    The only way to force change is with money, If you wanna make Apple serious about the windows platform Then every windows user should uninstall iTunes and not buy anything from Apple, unsubscribe from Apple music and when they see the hit their service business will take they will do something about it it's literally that simple. We are actually in control with our dollars. And money does talk! If Apple would like to cater just to Mac users so be it at their own peril.

  4. lvthunder

    iTunes is not dead. It just got split up a bit and given a new name on the Mac.

    • rob_segal

      In reply to lvthunder:

      Apple hasn't pulled the plug on the Windows app quite yet, but iTunes users should be concerned that there is a strong chance Apple will. Their focus is on the Music, Podcast, and TV apps that have no web app versions. Heavy Windows iTunes users may need to consider other options to ready themselves for this possible eventuality.

  5. BlackForestHam

    LOL. You are such a little bratty man, Paul. Have a few beers.

  6. TroyTruax

    And I will continue to ignore Apple. I am happy to say I have never had an iTunes account. All the discussions over the years of how awful iTunes is did nothing to inspire me to jump in. I found other ways to buy and enjoy media.

  7. garrygbain

    My god the phone industry is in a mess, WP gone, Apple falling apart and Huawei getting band. I don't want to but feel I need to move from my HP WP, but to where?

    • carlo.maniscalco

      In reply to garrygbain:

      What makes you think that "Apple falling apart"? If iTunes for Windows was okay before it's still going to be okay. The WWDC keynote was also quite good IMHO, at least for iOS. I'm more disappointed by the limitations in macOS, which mostly remains the same except for the new apps.

      And there are plenty of Android phones anyway.

  8. Lordbaal

    Good. It would be annoying to have 2 separate apps to sync your music and your videos. I'd rather have it in 1 app.

  9. RobertJasiek

    Exactly what I expected from Apple: nothing.

  10. Skolvikings

    I wanted to care, but I simply don't. I do not use my Windows PC for music or podcasts. I have a perfectly good iPhone in my pocket that I use for that stuff. Even when I'm using my Windows PC, if I want to listen to something, I still either use my iPhone or the Amazon Echo sitting on the desk next to the PC. As for movies and video, that's what my Fire Stick and my Apple TV are for. I'll occasionally watch a YouTube video or pull up a show on Hulu on my PC's second monitor while working, but those just require a web browser. I realize everyone is different, but for me, I don't use iTunes today and wouldn't use these new apps even if Apple made them available for Windows.

  11. joshhuggins

    Works for me, I have no plans for them either.

  12. Travis

    Itunes works just fine for me. I gotta say this news doesn't bother me at all. Most of my movie purchases can be watched with the Windows Movies and TV app because of Movies Anywhere. Podcasts I use pocketcast. All iTunes does is sync music to my phone.

  13. BBoileau

    iTunes was done years ago, in my personal experience, when it took over the metadata in my personal library and altered it badly. It took over a year to fix.

  14. solomonrex

    They don't need more apps, they need an online portal for purchased music. The Mac isn't really any better off than Windows here. You're still stuck either subscribing or moving files around in inscrutable ways.

    What they should do is move secure local backups to 'icloud' helper application (or official Windows functionality) and then they can migrate itunes' core stuff to an online portal. As bad as Google is in some ways, free cloud music storage is so much better.

    But then, I'm a dinosaur, I own my music, I don't rent.

  15. Saarek

    I suspect that for most people, especially in the near future, this will not prove an issue. With services like Apple Music most people won't bother storing their own songs anymore, not when they can just ask Alexa or Siri to play whatever song they want.

    Music libraries stored on computers is going the way of the Dodo.

  16. tulidescargar

    Very good article. The best TV viewing application is Repelisplus.

  17. justme

    I must admit, it does feel a little like ITunes is saying, "I dont want to go on the cart...." That said, all I'd really like is a way to manage the device side of my phone. Whether or not that is itunes or not is immaterial to me.

  18. wright_is

    Actually, it is not the 15th version of macOS. It is the 15 iteration of the 10th version of "macOS", if you want to go with the new rebranding of OS X as macOS, it is the 4th version... The previous versions, dating back to the late 80s also went under the name of Mac OS, mac OS or System over the years. ;-)

  19. Ron Diaz

    Windows is just the home of dead end legacy Win32 software.

    That is Microsoft’s own strategy.

    But that is ok when Microsoft does it.

    But when Apple or Google follows the same strategy the MS fanboys start crying.

    Whatever, deal with it.

    • skane2600

      In reply to Hypnotoad:

      "Windows is just the home of dead end legacy Win32 software."

      i.e. the platform where the big bucks are being made. The top ten apps on the iPhone are free.

      • curtisspendlove

        In reply to skane2600:

        i.e. the platform where the big bucks are being made. The top ten apps on the iPhone are free.

        Remind me what the grand total Microsoft has paid to developers for sale of their apps on Microsoft’s platforms...

        • skane2600

          In reply to curtisspendlove:

          Apps? We are talking Win32 programs. The end user pays, not Microsoft.

          • curtisspendlove

            In reply to skane2600:

            i.e. the platform where the big bucks are being made. The top ten apps on the iPhone are free.

   mistake. I can't imagine why I thought we were talking about "apps". (Spoiler Alert, $160 billion dollars paid out to 3rd party developers for Apple's platforms is not an insubstantial amount of money...regardless of the presence of "free" apps.)

            If you want to talk about people making money on Win32 programs. Sure, there's plenty of that. But if Windows didn't exist, they'd have found a different way to do it. Also, a reasonable number of those are moving to the web (to hopefully become the "new darling" PWAs); as discussed ad nauseam elsewhere.

            So yup. For vertical market apps that *need* the WIN32/64 framework. You're right. But even that is mostly a resistance to the massive cost to rearchitect those applications (which wouldn't be worth it unless something drastic happens with Windows).

            Even Paul admits there haven't been any notable WIN32/64 apps built in the last few years.

    • Steven Ball

      In reply to Hypnotoad:

      Microsoft and Google are far more cross-platform focused than Apple. Google pioneered the PWA and Microsoft joined the push. Additionally Microsoft makes many of their products available for Mac, iOS, and Android devices.

      • BoItmanLives

        In reply to cmucodemonkey:  Microsoft makes many of their products available for Mac, iOS, and Android devices.

        Out of desperation, not graciousness. They missed the mobile wave and are trying to cling to everyone else's.

        • Steven Ball

          Out of desperation, not graciousness. They missed the mobile wave and are trying to cling to everyone else's.

          That's true. I'm sure Microsoft would have loved to establish their own walled garden with hardware included. Regardless of how they arrived to this point, at least they are embracing open source and cross-platform. Having your products available on somebody else's hardware is way better than not having a mobile presence at all.

  20. maktaba

    Microsoft also ignores Windows.

  21. ponsaelius

    Apple ignores Windows.

    The headline at build was "Microsoft ignores Windows". So it's Apple playing catch up.

  22. Lauren Glenn

    If you're not using iTunes to synchronize music, don't use it. They don't require you to use it to activate anymore.

    I used to use it just to load my own music onto my phone with iTunes Match. Then I plugged in my iPod Classic and use it for that...

    It does the job well.... not as nice as Zune used to with automatic video and audio conversion...... and synchronization of subscription music to iPod Classics... my guess is that it's only still around for people like me who only buy music (mainly because I have many albums that go "out of print" and have many albums like that).... And most of that reason is that a lot of new music doesn't interest me and most "Music For You" picks on Apple Music tend to have a lot of songs i don't like and end up just deleting... so I don't use it. Only Zune picked great tracks for me. Nothing else really did that as well. Although I used to find it funny sometimes when it would pick recommended songs for me in a month and a few songs would be unavailable in the Zune marketplace.

    So much like song ratings are when they tried to ditch those after iOS 10, iTunes exists for people who like how music used to be... if you moved on, then don't use it. No one is making you, everyone.

  23. jaydsd

    No matter what Apple does, people can enjoy watching Movies, TV shows and many more on windows by installing an Android emulator and an app like Cyberflix TV. I've seen many more apps that enables online streaming. But truly, this is the best among all those apps.

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