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Apple will finally kill off iTunes in MacOS Catalina

Apple Music is replacing its iconic iTunes for Mac with separate Music, Podcasts and TV apps.

Apple WWDC 2019

Apple iTunes is now three apps: Music, Podcasts and TV

James Martin/CNET

Apple Music is officially replacing iTunes after 18 years as part of an app suite for the latest MacOS, which was announced at WWDC 2019 in California. The update is part of MacOS Catalina (coming in fall 2019), which also includes Apple Podcasts and the Apple TV app.

Apple's Craig Federighi said users can now use the Mac's Finder to sync their mobile devices instead of having to load iTunes or Music.

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Apple hasn't announced future support for users of legacy iOS devices or Windows. 

iTunes has been available on Mac since 2001 and was integral to the launch of the original iPod and then later the iPhone. However, since 2011 it was no longer needed to activate a new iPhone, and some users have been calling for iTunes to be scrapped for years.

The news comes as software and services take on even greater importance for Apple. The company still sells millions of iPhones every quarter, but sales aren't soaring like they used to. People are holding onto their devices for longer, which makes it important to give them services that get them paying monthly. Apple has made augmented reality, mobile payments, streaming music and other key area focuses over the past couple of years.

Expectations of the demise of iTunes swirled late last week Bloomberg reported the software would be replaced by a trio of new apps for the Mac. 9to5Mac shared leaked screenshots of what those apps might look like.

Then, on Saturday, Reddit users noticed that all iTunes social media posts for Instagram and Facebook were abruptly deletedMacRumors added that it looked like Apple migrated content from its iTunes page on Facebook to its Apple TV page on Facebook.

CNET's Shara Tibken contributed to this story.

Originally published on June 3, 11:48 a.m. PT 
Update 3:03 p.m.: Adds additional background material.