2001-2019: iTunes 18 Years Evolution History [INFOGRAPHIC]

2001-2019: iTunes 18 Years Evolution History [INFOGRAPHIC]

At the WWDC 2019 event, Apple announced that iTunes will be split to Apple Music, Apple Podcasts, and Apple TV in the newest macOS Catalina. Although it seems the windows version of iTunes will continue to exist for a while, at least for Mac users, this 18 years old app has finally gone away. iTunes is the most essential app for both Apple itself and all iPhone users. Its 18 years evolution history is also the development history of Apple from a small company to world’s most valuable technology company.

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From music player to music store

iTunes was firstly introduced by Jobs at the 2001 Macworld conference in San Francisco. Jobs named it as a music revolution. The first version of iTunes was a pure music player converted from a MP3 player named SoundJam MP, which was bought by Apple from another company. With a neat UI and convenient management of music, iTunes 1 got over 275,000 downloads. This is a pretty good result for an app published in 2001. Two years later in 2003, Apple released iTunes 4 with maybe the most important update in iTunes history. In this version, music store was added, means iTunes had been changed to a media platform from an app for just music play and management. Although only 20,000 songs were available for purchasing when iTunes 4 was firstly introduced, but until iTunes 5 came in 28 months, iTunes sold nearly 500 millions songs and helped Apple earn 10 billion USD.

Time is changing, so iTunes should change

With more and more features added, people start to criticize it for bloated, especially windows iTunes users. Even in this years’ WWDC, apple itself said iTunes almost became a operation system in a self-mocking way. So iTunes is also seen as one of the biggest black spots for Apple, a company that focuses on user experience. iTunes was firstly introduced as a music player, and features for sync, management, stores, and another were added in later updates. With the increase in entertainment and Apple product line becoming more abundant, as the most important part in Apple ecosystem, iTunes inevitably became more and more bloated.

Split is imperative

This is the time of mobile internet, all user needs can be finished online through mobile phones. Music, video, even podcasts, all have mature online streaming platforms. There are also cloud service for pictures. So except making backups, installing beta versions, etc., we almost no longer need iTunes. Now, iTunes has been split to 3 separate apps - Music, TV, and Podcasts. Without iTunes, iOS users can manage their device via Finder on Mac. Once, iTunes was the center of all kinds of Apple device, around which everything was distributed. But this is obviously not suitable for this mobile internet time any more.

It’s time to look back

iTunes will disappear once Mac users update to Catalina, even for Windows users, it seems that iTunes won’t last long. So, it’s time to look back and see what iTunes has changed in its 18 years evolution history. Learn more about some interesting but not surprising facts about iTunes from the infographic made by AnyTrans below:


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Jacob Wolinsky is the founder of ValueWalk.com, a popular value investing and hedge fund focused investment website. Jacob worked as an equity analyst first at a micro-cap focused private equity firm, followed by a stint at a smid cap focused research shop. Jacob lives with his wife and four kids in Passaic NJ. - Email: jacob(at)valuewalk.com - Twitter username: JacobWolinsky - Full Disclosure: I do not purchase any equities anymore to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest and because at times I may receive grey areas of insider information. I have a few existing holdings from years ago, but I have sold off most of the equities and now only purchase mutual funds and some ETFs. I also own a few grams of Gold and Silver
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