Apple replaced iTunes with the Music app in macOS Catalina, but it's still available in Windows 10 and Windows 11 - and it’s just had a new update.
Apple's music library app is likely how you first came across the company and the iPod - like when I bought the third-generation iPod (opens in new tab) in 2004. Managing music libraries and buying content on the iTunes Store was ahead of its time, but since most of us listen to music with streaming services like Apple Music and Spotify these days, iTunes has become a distant, and regrettable, memory.
Except for Windows users, where Apple is holding off turning iTunes into a dedicated Music app, as it has done on macOS. The new update (opens in new tab) is just bug fixes, but it's not good enough anymore.
Indeed, iTunes for Windows is looking more outdated with every passing year. It’s time for Apple to take another look at this strategy, especially as Apple Music is available on Android devices.
Leaving Windows users in the past
I recall installing iTunes on my Windows XP gaming PC, which I built primarily for Half Life 2 back in 2004. I’d create all kinds of playlists, and once the iTunes Store allowed other types of media, I ended up buying TV shows and music videos as well.
iTunes was simple in function, and a better alternative to what Windows Media Player 8 offered at the time, which was buggy and light on features. But these days, finding new music has changed significantly.
As a daily macOS user with a MacBook Pro 14-inch, using the Music app is a better experience than iTunes, mainly because by ditching podcasts, videos, and social features, it is now a more streamlined app that just focuses on music. There are also dedicated apps that focus on podcasts and videos, similar to iOS, which can sync with the shows I have subscribed to on my iPhone, thanks to iCloud.
But as times change, Windows 11 users are feeling shortchanged by Apple, but there could be an obvious solution.
Android to the rescue?
Translating this to Windows would be a challenge, but as Apple Music is available on Android, there may be potential to make it available to Windows 11 users as an app as well, saving the company from having to support two music apps on two different platforms.
As Android apps are available as a preview for users in the Microsoft Store, this could make sense for Apple and Apple Music users who don't have a Mac, especially as it's also arrived on Roku devices.
Yet iTunes still offers podcasts and videos that can be bought within the app in Windows, which complicates things. Perhaps this is where the Apple TV app, found on televisions, could come over to Windows 11 to alleviate this, while podcasts could be their own app for both Android and Windows devices.
iTunes has had its day - it's a relic of an era where we used PCs and laptops to manage our music for our iPods, and for a time, apps for our iPhones.
There are plenty of users who have both an Apple and a Windows device, so with this in mind, perhaps it's time at WWDC for the company to recognize this, and put iTunes to bed.