Digital Music News is once again reporting that Apple is contemplating removing iTunes downloads for good, focusing solely on its Apple Music streaming service for distribution. Reading between the lines, it sounds like Apple is open to multiple scenarios depending on future market conditions, which could include ditching traditional music download model. However, it doesn’t sound like there are firm plans to do that anytime soon; Apple has already denied similar reports saying ‘It’s not true’.
More interestingly is the report’s take on Apple’s WWDC plans for iTunes. It claims that Apple will unveil a major overhaul of the iTunes app to simplify the core functions of the app (music) and better present the different music offerings Apple has, removing points of confusion about how Apple Music works alongside the iTunes Store.
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The iTunes UI update would make sense alongside a wider overhaul of Apple Music itself, which 9to5Mac first reported on earlier in the year and is also expected to feature at WWDC. The iOS 10 Music app will see major design changes including a focus on artwork and black/white UI chrome. Last month, iTunes 12.4 included a few design changes to various parts of the application such as the reintroduction of a sidebar for music navigation.
On Twitter, Mark Gurman is reporting that the WWDC iTunes update will be in a similar vein and will launch alongside the new version of OS X (likely renamed MacOS) in the fall. The ‘major’ iTunes changes will not include splitting out media types into dedicated applications. Rather than addressing the iTunes bloat issue, it appears Apple will refine its behemoth with various interface improvements and enhancements.
Some of the new iTunes changes will no doubt incorporate the upgraded Apple Music features such as licensed lyrics integration for many tracks. The black/white UI revamp may also make its way to desktop iTunes for consistency.
WWDC is expected to be a software-focused event with sources indicating that the announcements will not feature updates to Apple’s product line, likely no new hardware at all. Apple will announce the next versions of its software for its various hardware lines however: iOS 10 for iPhone and iPad, OS X 10.12 for Macs (probably renaming to MacOS), watchOS 3 for Apple Watch and a new tvOS for Apple TV.
The keynote starts at 10 AM PT on Monday — stay tuned to 9to5Mac as we bring live coverage of all the announcements.