Apple didn't push iTunes into the cloud in its latest product announcements, but it did take it social with the launch of Ping.
Describing itself as “a social network for music”, Ping is built into the latest software update for iTunes (iTunes 10) and brings social networking elements into the music player for the first time. It is also built into the iPhone and the iPod Touch.
Despite Apple CEO Steve Jobs introducing Ping as “nothing like Facebook or Twitter”, it shares many elements with both and is Apple's first real step into social networking.
Users create a profile when they install the iTunes 10 software update and choose the genres of music they like (although they can only pick three and the category types are limited). They can then invite friends to follow them and also follow the profiles of musicians such as Lady GaGa, Coldplay, Mark Ronson and Katy Perry.
Users can post updates and comment on the posts of others as well as see what music they are listening to. Concert recommendations, powered by Live Nation, are also built in.
Apple also revealed a radical overhaul of its iPod line of devices, although the iPod classic went untouched. The Shuffle saw button controls return while the iPod Touch (which Jobs said is the biggest selling portable gaming device in the world) took on much of the same functionality as the iPhone 4.
The biggest change was left for the Nano (still Apple's most successful music payer). It has now shrunk to around the size of a Shuffle and has a touchscreen interface with a 'twist screen' so users can have the display face in one of four ways.
Jobs' standard “One more thing…” announcement was all about Apple TV, even though this was billed as their music event. The device itself is smaller and has moved away from download-to-own retailing of films and TV shows towards rental. This could be read as a dry run for a similar change in the delivery of music on iTunes. That, however, appears to be some time off.
The main Apple numbers announced last night were:
- 12m tracks available on iTunes
- 11.7bn tracks sold to date
- 275m iPods sold
- 250,000 apps available on the App Store
- 25,000 apps available specifically for the iPad
- 6.5bn apps downloaded to date
- 120m iOS-enabled devices in the market (i.e. iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad)
- 230,000 new iOS devices activated a day
Taken from: http://www.musicweek.com/story.asp?sectioncode=1&storycode=1042395&c=1