iTunes (z/) is a media player, media library, Internet radio broadcaster, mobile device management utility, and the client app for iTunes Store, developed by Apple Inc. It is used to purchase, play, download, and organize digital multimedia, on personal computers running the macOS and Windows operating systems, and can be used to rip songs from CDs, as well as play content with the use of dynamic, smart playlists. Options for sound optimizations exist, as well as ways to wirelessly share the iTunes library.
Originally announced on January 9, 2001, iTunes' original and main focus was music, with a library offering organization, collection, and storage of users' music collections. In 2005, however, Apple expanded on the core features with support for digital video, podcasts, e-books, and mobile apps purchased from the iOS App Store, the last of which it discontinued in 2017. The originaliPhone required iTunes for activation. Until the release of iOS 5 in 2011, iTunes was required for updating mobile apps. Newer iOS devices rely less on iTunes, though it can still be used to back up the contents of mobile devices, as well as to share files with personal computers.
iTunes has received significant criticism for a bloated user experience, with Apple adopting an all-encompassing feature-set in iTunes rather than sticking to its original music-based purpose. On June 3, 2019, Apple announced that iTunes in macOS Catalina would be replaced by separate apps, namely Music, Podcasts, and TV. Finder would take over the device management capabilities. This change would not affect Windows or older macOS versions.
SoundJam MP, released by Casady & Greene in 1998, was renamed "iTunes" when Apple purchased it in 2000. The primary developers of the software moved to Apple as part of the acquisition, and simplified SoundJam's user interface, added the ability to burn CDs, and removed its recording feature and skin support. The first version of iTunes, promotionally dubbed "World’s Best and Easiest To Use Jukebox Software", was announced on January 9, 2001. Subsequent releases of iTunes often coincided with new hardware devices, and gradually included support for new features, including "smart playlists," the iTunes Store, and new audio formats.
Apple released iTunes for Windows in 2003. In May 2017, Microsoft and Apple announced that they would bring iTunes to the Microsoft Store by the end of that year in order to work on Windows 10 S devices, which are limited to software available in the Microsoft Store. However, Apple told ZDNet in December that it "[needs] a little more time to get it right", and thus won't be available in 2017. Apple released the Microsoft Store version on April 26, 2018.