It's a music service, app store, media-asset manager, podcast player, CD burner -- it's iTunes for Mac, and it's just as exasperating as helpful.
Music player: True to its origin as an MP3 player, iTunes helps you find, organize, and listen to your music. Search through your music library by album, artist, composer, or song. You can create your own playlists or have iTunes automatically build playlists for you, based on a song you pick or a few rules you set.
Store: iTunes serves as a storefront to Apple's music, movie, and TV show stores. You can buy individual songs -- from $.69 to $1.29 -- or albums, rent or buy movies, and purchase individual TV episodes or entire seasons. To discover new music, you can sort by genre, view song and album charts, and explore iTunes-generated song collections. Based on your buying history, iTunes recommends items you might be interested in. The store also offers podcasts, audiobooks, ringtones, and more.
Radio: Beats 1, Apple's flagship 24-hour pop-music station, is available for free. You can also check out thousands of free stations broadcasting over the Internet, including college radio. Other Apple stations dedicated to specific genres or moods come with a $9.99 monthly subscription to Apple Music.
Syncing: iTunes serves as the primary method for syncing media between your Mac and iOS device. Sync over a lightning cable or Wi-Fi. If you'd rather bypass iTunes, you can use iCloud to synchronize across your Apple devices, either with an Apple Music or iTunes Match subscription. (iTunes Match, which costs $24.99 a year, stores all of your music in iCloud, including tunes you've imported from other sources, and lets you access your songs from any Apple device).
Takes on too much: From selling you iOS apps to organizing your music, iTunes wants to be your digital hub. But navigating through iTunes' different audio and video services to find what you want is frequently frustrating. Apple's approach on iOS, where it breaks up iTunes into individual apps for music, video, and store purchases, is much more sensible.
iTunes-centric syncing: Having iTunes serve as the main method for syncing from Mac to iOS devices feels out of sync with Apple's iCloud and music streaming efforts.
iTunes is suffering from trying to do everything. Mac users would be better served if Apple took its iOS approach to managing music and video to the desktop and split iTunes for Mac up into individual apps.