The new Apple Podcasts app for Mac, showing a list of available podcasts.

Enlarge / The new Apple Podcasts app for Mac. (credit: Ron Amadeo)

SAN JOSE, Calif.—As part of a slate of upcoming software updates, Apple will close the door on one of its most iconic pieces of software: iTunes. The company will split the application up into multiple, more-focused apps on the Mac: Apple Music for music, Apple TV for TV and movies, and Apple Podcasts for podcasts.

iTunes—a program for managing your media library, listening to songs, and buying new content—played a key part in the digital revolution of the 2000s after it first launched in 2001. Its impact started with music. iTunes was partly credited with slowing the severe bleeding to piracy the recording industry faced amid the popularity of the MP3 boom on peer-to-peer file-sharing applications like Napster. And the program was also the home base for the iPod, one of the first of many products CEO Steve Jobs oversaw when steering the company back to success after he returned to his leadership position in 1998.

It was lauded as a powerful tool for managing your music library in that it allowed you to not only sort, manage, and play music you bought from Apple’s online store, but it also let you import music files acquired from other sources and even sync them to your cloud-based library. Apple later introduced new media types to iTunes as it expanded its services and content offerings: movies, TV, podcasts, books, and audiobooks. iTunes was also the primary method for backing up, updating, and managing iOS devices like the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad before iCloud took center stage in recent years.

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