It bugged me when Apple dropped USB cable syn(hronization) feature in Mac OS X 10.9. Lots of iDevice users were angry and made Apple add it back in the later versions.
Something that never happened bugged you? Apple never removed cable syncing from Mac OS X and iOS devices.
What did change, in Mavericks, was that SyncServices was removed. SyncServices was only responsible for syncing calendars and contact information and without it iCloud was required to sync calendars and contacts. iTunes still synced everything else.
SyncServices was added back in Mac OS X 10.9.3. But at no time did they remove the ability to sync music, photos, videos, apps, or anything other than contacts and calendars from iTunes.