In today’s modern technology-based world it is not realistic, nor practical, to expect a company to support a product indefinitely. Technology changes and many older products cannot reliably be supported. While the length of service for many of Apple products are getting longer and longer, they all do have an inevitable end-of-life date. There are two products that will no longer function, as expected, beginning May 25th, 2018. Those two items are the first-generation Apple TV and iTunes on Windows XP and Windows Vista. Let us start with the original first-generation Apple TV.
Original Apple TV
The original Apple TV was unveiled as sneak peak in September of 2006, with the code name of iTV. The original Apple TV was a similar form-factor as the Mac Mini available at the time. The first-generation Apple TV sported two different video output connections; HDMI and component video. The Apple TV was capable of outputting up to 1080p. The first-generation Apple TV also had an optical audio out jack, a 10/100 ethernet connection and a USB port. If you did not have ethernet connectivity, you could connect via the built-in 802.11b/g/n wireless. When released, the original Apple TV acted more like an iPod or original iPhone, where you had to connect it to iTunes in order to synchronize your media. This process was definitely not ideal, and this did change as the software progressed, but it was the original solution.
The original Apple TV initially came with a 40GB hard drive, but Apple released a 160GB model in May of 2007. The hard drive connection on the Apple TV was not Serial ATA (SATA) as one might expect, but instead it was a Parallel ATA (PATA) connection. The operating system of the Apple TV was a modified version of Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger. If you were adventurous enough you could actually install a full version of Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger on it and use it as an actual Mac, but it was a limited amount of RAM, 256MB to be exact. This is a tiny amount compared today’s standards. From Apple’s support article:
[B]eginning May 25, security changes will prevent Apple TV (1st generation) from using the iTunes Store. This device is an obsolete Apple product and will not be updated to support these security changes.
After the changes, you’ll only be able to access the iTunes Store on Apple TV (2nd generation) or later.
This really is the end of an era for the original Apple TV. Now, let us turn to iTunes.
iTunes on Windows XP and Vista
It is well known that Steve Jobs was adamantly against iTunes on Windows. He needed to be convinced. iTunes for Windows was initially released on October 16th, 2003 with the availability of iTunes 4.1. When it was first released iTunes was supported on Windows 2000 and Windows XP. Subsequent versions added support for later operating systems. Microsoft ended support for Windows XP on April 14th 2014 and ended Windows Vista support on April 11th, 2017. Despite these operating systems no longer being supported by their manufacturer, Apple has supported these computers connecting to iTunes. Beginning May 25th, 2018 this will no longer be the case.
It is not that the software will stop functioning, at least in terms of being able to play the items you have already downloaded. The change is that the iTunes Store will no longer be available and you will not be able to re-download previously made purchases.
Starting May 25, Apple will introduce security changes that prevent older Windows PCs from using the iTunes Store. If you have Windows XP or Vista PC, your computer is no longer supported by Microsoft, and you’re not able to use the latest version of iTunes.
You can continue to use previous versions of iTunes on your Windows PC without support from Apple. However, you won’t be able to make new purchases from the iTunes Store or redownload previous purchases on that computer.
After May 25, you’ll need to use Windows 7 or later with the latest version of iTunes to make purchases from the iTunes Store and redownload previous purchases.
I still own my original Apple TV. The featured photo at the top of this post is of my Apple TV taken with my iPhone X. The Apple TV has come a long way since its origins. I powered up my original Apple TV and it still works. I did have to hunt a bit for the remote for it, but I ultimately did find one of my original remotes that worked. I do not know if I will do anything with it. I may, like many others, end up using it as a stand for my iMac.