Apple loves to change the iTunes icon. It's just never satisfied. And it's hard to blame Apple for that: iTunes is one of the most important pieces of software it makes — a gateway into its revolutionary music and app stores, the home of most of your media, and the place you go to manage iPhones and iPads. All of which is probably why Apple seems to get bored every few years and tweak the iTunes icon to better fit the company's current vibe. And the latest iTunes icon — the one that's coming with OS X El Capitan this fall — may be both the strangest and the most fitting design yet.
Read next: The OS X El Capitan review.
It's either based on Apple's classic logo or Trix Yogurt
The new icon (a remake is shown above) takes last year's design and replaces the bright red background with splashes of soft blue, purple, and red, with the same white music note on top of it. Apple began showing the icon on Monday, but it didn't focus on it — I didn't even notice the change until 9to5Mac started running a poll about it. My initial thought was that the icon looked like Apple was getting into bad tie-dye (someone also suggested it looked like Trix Yogurt) — an excess of color that would even stand out on Jony Ive's iOS. But then Verge editor Thomas Ricker pointed out what he saw it channeling: the old-school, colorful Apple logo. Apple plucked the bottom three colors off of its old apple, made them a touch paler, and put them all together on the icon of the app that's defined so much of the company's last decade.
The iTunes icon as it appears in OS X El Capitan.
It's a fitting choice that subtly touches on Apple's recent interests — mindfulness toward its legacy, reinvigorating its classic pursuits, and focusing increasingly on diversity. It's a small touch, but it's a sign of the youthful attitude that Apple has been trying to put forward at recent events. The colors also appear on the new Music app icon that's coming with the release of Apple Music in iOS 8.4. There, Apple makes the note colorful and puts it on a white background — it actually looks like you could fit the note into the iTunes icon and it would match up perfectly.
The new iOS Music icon, as it appears in CarPlay.
You can argue that the logo is just three colors that go well together, or you can argue that they're just three colors on the rainbow. But I don't think that's the case. Apple's classic logo runs from green to blue, rather than red to violet, and the iTunes icon just happens to pick up three colors that only run together in the logo. Given that Drake is into Apple's classic colors too, maybe it's time that they make a comeback.