Apple on Monday announced enhanced privacy features as it harmonized software across its lineup of devices while dropping its groundbreaking iTunes store as it gears up for new kinds of digital content.
Apple chief Tim Cook and other executives focused on privacy features as they unveiled software improvements for iPhones, iPads, Apple Watch, Apple TV, and Mac computers at the technology giant’s annual gathering of developers in Silicon Valley.
The company also revealed the demise of the iTunes online shop that changed the music industry.
“The future of iTunes is not one app, it’s three,” said Apple senior vice president of software engineering Craig Federighi.
“Apple Music, Apple Podcasts and Apple TV.”
Launched in 2001, iTunes was the online shop to buy and download digital songs for Apple iPod players.
Lifestyles have since shifted to streaming music, video, podcasts, and more from the internet cloud as online data centres and high-bandwidth connections have given rise to on-demand entertainment expectations.
Apple has made a priority of selling digital content and services to the vast, global audience of people who use its devices as it seeks to wean itself off iPhone sales in a cooling smartphone market.
The audience at the Worldwide Developers Conference audience cheered for executives and improvements that promised to make it easier to make apps for Apple devices.
Next-generation iOS software powering iPhones coming out later this year was reworked “top to bottom” to be faster, according to Federighi.
Privacy protections being added to iOS mobile operating software included providing the option of giving apps permission to access location just once, instead of all the time, and letting users know when apps are tracking their whereabouts.
A new “Sign In With Apple” feature will be launched as an alternative to logging in using Facebook or Google accounts.
“This can be convenient, but it can also come at the cost of your privacy,” Federighi said.
“These log-ins can be used to track you.”
The iOS log-in feature will let people sign into apps using AppleID information, but provides the option of masking user names or email addresses with randomly generated information.
“The entire experience is meant to help you have control over your data,” Federighi said, to applause.
“A lot of love for random addresses here.”
Apple also announced changes that will make iPads easier to use as auxiliary screens for Mac computers, and even perform a bit more like laptops themselves with capabilities like multiple windows operating simultaneously.
Apple also unveiled a new Mac Pro high-performance desktop computer aimed at professions, with a starting price of $5,999.
“It has a truly gorgeous design and remarkable performance to match,” Cook said of Mac Pro.
Apple previewed its iOS 13 for its mobile devices, which includes a “dark mode,” an upgraded maps application and faster access through its facial recognition sign-on.