While some will cheer the death of iTunes — the once-grand, now-bloated media app that was necessary for iPods and iPhones — others, such as myself, look to the imminent future with suspicion. If the woolly mammoth of music and movie management is to disappear, the Music app that is expected to replace it needs to offer more than just the Apple Music service.
The big features that need to carry over, for those of us who want iTunes to stay special, are iTunes Match uploads and Smart Playlists. Without continuing these traditions, Apple risks Music being no better than Spotify, which beats it in so many other ways.
Music on macOS: What to Expect
We know that these features have a chance of landing on Music for macOS because a big Apple Updates leak published by Bloomberg's Mark Gurman notes that "there will also be a new Apple Music app, which is being developed as a standard Mac program." That gave me hope, as it doesn't sound like Apple's simply moving the iOS Music app over like it did with Stocks and Home.
What We Need
One of the key ideas behind iTunes was the act of collecting, that everyone builds their collections — even while streaming music services have their own libraries. But since music service libraries aren't exactly complete, certain edge-cases exist because not all musicians want to make deals with the likes of Spotify and Apple. iTunes has an advantage here, as it allows you to upload your own files and listen to them anywhere, with the iCloud Music Library.
Currently, Apple's one of the two remaining services to offer this feature, with Google Play Music (soon to be replaced by YouTube Music) being the other. Amazon Prime Music used to offer it, but stopped last year. Without iCloud Music Library uploads, where you can store the MP3s on your computer, either made from vinyl recordings or offered as free downloads with album purchases, Apple Music becomes less interesting.
The lack of iCloud Music Library also makes Spotify's metric ton of playlists, and the fact that practically everyone's on it, even more alluring. Spotify's got more playlists than you could ever listen to, and does all the work, but iTunes has its own custom Smart Playlists, where you can set parameters — such as the top 30 songs you've added in the last month, sorted by play count — and build your own ever-evolving playlists.
Fortunately, a report from 9to5Mac states "the new standalone Music app on macOS will actually be an AppKit application, based off of iTunes." Further, users like myself will be happy to hear "it will include many of the advanced features iTunes users are accustomed to, including things such as smart playlists, advanced library management, syncing with iPods and iOS devices, and even disc reading and burning."
Credit: Laptop Mag/Apple