Apple goes for a slice of social pie with Ping

2 September 2010 No Comment Ian McGurren

Have you ever wanted to know what your friends are listening to on iTunes? Have you wanted to browse your friend’s music collection, see what concerts they are going to, what they’ve bought or reviewed?

Well Apple think you do, and like a giant hypnotoad they will make you want to by introducing Ping into iTunes 10. In essence Ping adds all this social interactivity to your iTunes / iPod / iPhone/iPad, making it a kind of Twitter for music that Apple hope will help you “discover” (i.e. buy) more music.

It works by updating when you do something in iTunes (or a player on an iOS device), be it buying a track, reviewing an album or simply listening to something. People can then comment or like this action – very Facebook.

You can also be ‘followed’, much like in the Twitter sense, so people who feel you have an impeccable taste in music when you follow Slayer with Vera Lynn can track your Ping movements and “discover” (yes, Apple still means buy) tracks you listen to.Apple Ping

You can post tracks as suggestions for others – a kind of “what do you think of this?” noticeboard – and you can also follow artists with a certain degree of social interactivity coming from them in return, including posts and pictures.

There’s a lot of scope here and to be fair to Apple, it’s a decently implemented social networking system, albeit one piggybacking on iTunes and iOS players. It’s success, though, will depend on how easy it is to use and, crucially, maintain.

There’s no mention of any integration with the established social networks like Facebook and Twitter and certainly we won’t be seeing it outside of Apple circles but it’s a brave move to enter the social arena. Even the giants fall (MySpace) but Apple certainly has the audience and financial clout to make this work.

Want to get in on Ping? You’ll need iTunes 10 from Apple, and on the move you’ll need an iOS 4 device, so that’s at least an iPhone 3G, an iPod touch second generation, or the iPad.

 

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