Yesterday was a big day for Apple and iOS users. Whenever Apple sends out invitations for a media event, people listen. And blog. And tweet. While September is the traditional time for iPod announcements, Steve Jobs likes to take advantage of a spotlight and at the start of most press conferences: iOS updates, products sold, and of course, an update on the latest changes to accessories and related products. So at the iPod event we get some information on iTunes.
The biggest new feature of iTunes 10, aside from a new icon which has done away with the CD, is Ping, Apple’s first venture into social networking. Connecting users to various degrees through different flavors of iTunes: computer, iPod, iPad and iPhone, Ping allows users to follow their friends and favorite artists, find out what they are listening to, comment about songs, and find concert listings. Going to a show? Say so on iTunes and all your friends can find out. Kind of like the Facebook Events function.
Is this a full-fledged social network designed to draw users away from? No. Is it better for sharing music with your friends than Last.fm or Swift.fm? I’m going to have to say no again. One major caveat: Apple tends to roll out features slowly, sometimes over years of development. We have no idea where Apple could take this.