Apple’s iTunes software—the ultimate jukebox program for Macintosh and Windows—supplies the software yin to the hardware yang of the iPod. It plays and organizes your music, copies music from your CD collection onto your hard drive, updates your podcasts, and burns new CDs with music in a sequence you like. It’s also an online music store where you can buy a favorite song or music video, legally, for a buck or two, with just a few mouse clicks.
As the MP3 music craze of the late 1990s swept across the globe, software programs for playing the new music files on the computer began to pop up around the Internet. Many Windows fans fondly remember WinAmp as their introduction to MP3 software; early adopters on the Mac side likely recall programs like SoundApp, SoundJam MP, and MacAmp.
When iTunes debuted in January 2001, Apple reported that 275,000 people downloaded it in the first week. The iTunes software proved to be a versatile, robust, all-around music management program made exclusively for Macintosh. And it was free.
Even in that first version of iTunes, Mac fans could import songs from a CD and convert them into MP3 files; play MP3s, audio CDs, and stream Internet radio; create custom playlists; burn audio CDs without having to spring for extra CD burning software; zone out to groovy animated laser-light displays in the iTunes window while songs played; and transfer music to a few pre–iPod, Mac-friendly portable ...