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Summary:

After nearly a decade, iTunes is getting a new icon with the release of version 10. Jobs also introduced Ping, a social network Apple created specifically for iTunes. Ping allows users to share activity with their friends, and follow their favorite artists to receive updates.

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After nearly a decade, iTunes is getting a new icon with the release of version 10 today. Steve Jobs joked about the looming obsolescence of the CD featured prominently in the logo now that iTunes sales are poised to surpass CD sales for the first time in history.

Ping

The new icon is a metaphor for what’s to come in iTunes’ future. The emphasis will be on music, yes, but also on what’s unique about music on the web. Accordingly, Jobs also introduced Ping, a brand new social network Apple created specifically for iTunes. Ping allows users to share activity with their friends, and follow their favorite artists to receive updates about concerts, albums, and more.

Ping resembles social media interfaces users are already used to, like Facebook and Twitter. In fact, I was struck by how much it resembled Facebook’s news feed when Jobs was showing it off during the presentation. It resides right within the desktop version of iTunes, and is accessible by clicking on a link in your source list on the left. You can also access it on your iPhone or iPod touch, using the onboard iTunes application.

The types of activity available in Ping include text and image updates, a list of upcoming concerts and events, recent purchases made in iTunes, and a custom-generated top downloads charts that reflects purchases made by your network of friends. You can also see the favorite tracks of friends and artists you follow in Ping.

Users can custom set their privacy filters according to how accessible they want their Ping information to be. Ping is available today on iTunes 10, which is a free download from Apple.com. It’s open to 23 countries initially, with more to follow in the future presumably.

UI Tweaks

Other changes to iTunes include UI simplifications and changes, including a new list view that features album cover artwork for albums on which you own more than five songs, instead of just displaying the CD name over and over again. Not a huge change, but it’ll make things prettier and should make for a slightly improved user experience.

I’m curious, who’s planning on actually using Ping? Can’t say my interest is really all that piqued, despite Jobs’ heavy use of Gaga in the product demo.

  1. “I’m curious, who’s planning on actually using Ping?”. Darrell I’d say music lovers will give it a try for sure. However I cannot predict what would happen next. I’ll try it for sure. If it’s a hit, I can easily see SJ adding more to it over the time – movies, apps and games integration, online version, etc. Apple is moving slowly since, just like you, they don’t know how successful this will be. But if the users come in enough numbers, I can see this becoming a true and powerful social networking/media platform. Also there’s no issue about the business model here. We’re talking about paying users. Myself included. Darrell, there’s potential.

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    1. I hope it does work out. I’d like to see meaningful music recommendations drawn from a pool of like-minded individuals, but that will depend on uptake.

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  2. I’m dubious about the placement of the close/min/max buttons.

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  3. When is it coming out so we can download it? Because at the moment i don’t seem to be able to download it onto my Macbook air

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    1. Apple said it would be available immediately, but apparently there’s some holdup.

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    2. It looks like Apple jumped the gun, and are holding off making 10 available. I’ll update when I can get it.

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  4. “Welcome to the social.”

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  5. I’m curious too. People have been hooked to social networks through their browsers or mobile apps. But Apple is taking a different approach having its social network in a desktop application and iTunes store. Wondering if Apple will release APIs to integrate with other networks or do it themselves.

    The idea of a music related social network is interesting.

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  6. I’m really not sure about the new iTunes logo, I don’t think it will age well at all.

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  7. i hate the new icon period.

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  8. It’s available for dl, just dl’d it!

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  9. The icon is okay, but what on earth is with the grey on grey sidebar? I keep thinking the window is not selected, and it takes a second longer to find one’s bearings. I understand they’re on a mission to make things ever sleeker and refined but I’m surprised that one got through.

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    1. I agree. I am not fond of the logo, but the grey items on the side. It’s just ugly. It seems as though they are trying to make it so the right content area is the predominate area of focus. But imo, I live the side bar before as it was just easier to differentiate between items.

      This whole update, Apps + iPods + AppleTV was a complete waste this year. Only good thing that came out of it, was the iPod touch. To which I will never use anyway as I have an iPhone.

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