iTunes Is 12 – Still a Free Download with So Much More to Offer than Just MP3 Playback

Apple bought SoundJam, retooled it and launched it as “iTunes” on January 9, 2001

Today is iTunes’ 12th birthday and a lot has happened in this past decade, from the app’s inception as a simple music player to a digital download storefront accessed by hundreds of millions of users worldwide.

Pretty much every soul on the planed who has used Apple products knows iTunes, that colorful (yet sometimes annoying) application through which media is routed and played, whether it’s music, video and, as of more recently, apps.

However, few people know iTunes actually has its roots in another application called SoundJam MP. Developed by Bill Kincaid and released by Casady & Greene in 1999, SoundJam was renamed iTunes when Apple purchased the software, rewrote it, and launched it with Mac OS 9.

Jeff Robbin, Kincaid, and Dave Heller who moved from SoundJam over to Apple as part of the acquisition, continued their work on the software, simplifying its interface.

They also added the ability to burn CDs and removed its recording feature and skin support.

In the years since, iTunes has added films, television programs, music videos, podcasts, and the App Store for iOS devices, beefing up the iTunes Store’s catalog dramatically.

In March 2010, Apple released version 9.1 of the software which added support for the iPad and the newly introduced iBooks application. Thus, the iBookstore was born.

When iTunes 10 was launched in 2010, shortly after the launch of the first iPad, customers snarled at the change of the iconic CD logo to a more digitalized blue sphere holding the old musical note in the middle.

iTunes 10 also brought iTunes Ping, an attempt on behalf of Apple to enter social networking. Two years later, the service was terminated due to lack of popularity and failed negotiations between Apple and Facebook to bring the latter on board.

On November 29, 2012, Apple released iTunes 11. As the current version of the software, iTunes 11 includes a redesigned user interface that drops Cover Flow in favor of a grid layout. Users have met this change with much dismay.

Other new features include the standalone MiniPlayer, more iCloud ties, and a new design for the iTunes Store.

After 12 years of existence and constant refining by the software engineers at 1 Infinite Loop, Cupertino, CA, iTunes remains a free download for all Mac and Windows PC users worldwide.

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