The end of iTunes, an opportunity for Pioneer, new tools and standards
jeudi 2 mai 2019, 18:50 , par Create Digital Music
Apple’s iTunes is not going away tomorrow, but the antiquated software seems to finally be approaching the end of the road. It’s long past time to talk about new solutions and new standards, for music lovers and DJs alike.
Goodnight, iTunes 12.x.
iTunes’ days are numbered
The logic runs something like this: even though Apple last year squashed rumors of the end of iTunes and iTunes downloads, it does nonetheless make sense that once the company migrates to a new music app, the old one will be deprecated.
In April, news leaked that the next major release of macOS was expected to unveil that new desktop software, at last. iTunes on Windows and Mac right now involves a bunch of tools that have since become more differentiated on iOS – Music, Podcasts, Books, and TV (for TV and Movies).
Multiple reports suggested Apple plans new standalone apps that will match the desktop experience to the iOS one – starting with a tweet by developer Steve Troughton-Smith.
I am now fairly confident based on evidence I don't wish to make public at this point that Apple is planning new (likely UIKit) Music, Podcasts, perhaps even Books, apps for macOS, to join the new TV app. I expect the four to be the next wave of Marzipan apps. Grain of salt, etc
— Steve Troughton-Smith (@stroughtonsmith) April 5, 2019
And sure enough, these reports also suggested that Apple would extend the use of a project code named Marzipan, meant to allow easy cross-platform development between iOS and macOS. We saw this in a sneak peak last year, and if you’ve updated to Mojave, apps like Apple News use the library now. (Troughton-Smith is an early adopter and advocate for Marzipan.)
I expect more news is coming in WWDC, but in the meantime, the leaks have been pretty clear. Guilherme Rambo reported on 9to5Mac that he could confirm the leaks:
I’ve been able to independently confirm that this is true. On top of that, I’ve been able to confirm with sources familiar with the development of the next major version of macOS – likely 10.15 – that the system will include standalone Music, Podcasts, and TV apps…
The new Music, Podcasts, and TV apps will be made using Marzipan, Apple’s new technology designed to facilitate the porting of iPad apps to the Mac without too many code changes.
The important point: iTunes won’t go away yet:
With the standalone versions of Apple’s media apps coming to the Mac, it’s natural to ask: what about iTunes in macOS 10.15? According to sources, the next major version of macOS will still include the iTunes app. Since Apple doesn’t have a new solution for manually syncing devices such as old iPods and iPhones with the Mac, it’s natural to keep iTunes around a little longer.
But I don’t think it’s too early to begin moving way from iTunes. And that would be a big step. iTunes is significant to two, key (overlapping) demographics: music lovers who retain downloaded music, and DJs using iTunes to manage libraries across other tools.
That has another implication, though: a lot of the current ecosystem around music is dependent on iTunes use and the XML-based iTunes media format for storing metadata and playlists. DJ tools depend on it – TRAKTOR, Serato, but even many Rekordbox users, who use Rekordbox for sync to USB sticks for CDJs, but still depend on iTunes for media management as they’re digging through new music. And in turn, many independent labels and indeed the whole health of downloads sales on sites like Bandcamp and Beatport also depend on people having a tool for management.
Why wait for the ship to be half sunk before heading for the lifeboats? iTunes might already be considered deprecated even if it is shipping in macOS 10.15. And you’d be forgiven for calling it a slow, clunky wreck right now – particularly on Windows.
Plus, the move to Marzipan tech and closer iOS and macOS development also would seem to presage a move of Mac computer hardware to the ARM platform – leaving iTunes in the Trashcan of history.
Apple News running on Mojave is a good glimpse into the likely future of a Music app.
My guess is that it’s highly unlikely that the upcoming Music app will duplicate key features necessary for use by the DJ and enthusiast markets. That involves a whole lot of metadata editing, rating systems, playlist management, and media storage. Even if these features are duplicated, it also seems likely Apple would create a new file format – and there’s no real guarantee you’ll see a compatible app on Windows, ever (though I don’t know what Windows subscribers to Apple Music would do). These use cases also depend on specific file conversion and compatibility features – and iTunes was already deficient in lacking native support for formats like FLAC.
Oh yeah – and there’s the fact that iTunes XML, the file format that DJs and other enthusiasts use to make their library portable and compatible, is effectively already deprecated. You have to opt in now to share that file at all, which has left users of other dependent apps like Rekordbox and TRAKTOR in the dark about why compatibility suddenly broke. Any new Music app is likely to follow recent Apple protocol and keep the format proprietary.
Dude, where’s my XML? osxdaily have this fix.
For details on how to fix that:
126 sources (21 en français)
mer. 8 juil. - 16:21 CEST