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iTunes, created and designed by Apple Inc, was initially introduced in 2001 as a media player and media library exclusively for Macintosh computers. After its availability to Windows users in 2003, iTunes quickly became one of the world's most widely used media players.
Initial use of iTunes involved managing digital music files and playing them back on Apple's iPod portable media player; however, over time, it has expanded to support various forms of media, including movies, TV shows, podcasts, audiobooks and more. Following Apple's launch of its iTunes Store in 2003, iTunes became an omnibus service for purchasing and downloading digital content.
The iTunes Store was instrumental in revolutionizing the music industry by providing users with a legal and affordable means to purchase music online. Before its introduction, users had only limited options when it came to physically purchasing albums or illegally downloading from peer-to-peer networks; with its advent came individual songs or entire albums with just a few clicks from the iTunes Store users could purchase. Its success has opened doors for other digital music stores like Amazon Music and Spotify to thrive as well.
Apple announced in 2019 that iTunes would be split into separate applications for music, TV and podcasts on Mac computers with the release of macOS Catalina; Windows users still use iTunes as one app.
iTunes has had an enormous effect on how we consume digital media and played an essential role in shaping its growth and expansion.
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