Wired’s Levy: Apple’s half-baked iTunes’ Ping

ZaggMate“In September, Apple introduced Ping, an attempt to turn iTunes into a social space. It’s an intriguing idea: iTunes is the colossus of digital music, with well over 160 million users. People love to share music preferences and gush about their favorite artists,” Steven Levy writes for Wired. ” Bingo!”

“But Ping came out half-baked,” Levy writes. “In the past, Apple has won big by solving problems before its competitors. Here it’s struggling with problems other players have already cracked.”

Levy writes, “For example, the first thing you do on a social network is gather a list of ‘friends’ to connect with. That’s not easy on Ping. The few of my contacts who are there aren’t people I discuss music with. Though a deal that would have let users import contacts from Facebook reportedly fell through, Apple did announce Ping integration with Twitter in November. But the integration goes only so far: Ping comments can be automatically tweeted, but not the reverse. And I don’t use Twitter for socializing or music suggestions, as I do Facebook.”

Levy continues, “Apple needs a viral spark of its own. It had a great chance to create that. Ping offers accounts to artists, for users to follow. This could have turned Ping into a venue where fans made personal connections with their heroes. Unfortunately, the artists’ ‘activities’ are generally plugs obviously posted by flacks… Apple must do more.”

Read more in the full article – recommended – here.

MacDailyNews Take: We tried to very short-lived Facebook link in iTunes before Facebook blocked it and Apple pulled it. It would have been useful and may have changed our opinion of Ping altogether. Apple should have held onto Ping until they had a deal with Facebook. To plop Ping out there as they did, with a hack to Facebook, and handful of artists (mainly artists’ promotions), no real way to easily find friends*, and a slew of other issues, was Microsoftian.

*On Day One, when the Facebook button disappeared and we had to resort to emailing friends – “Have you tried Ping? Are you on Ping?” – we knew it was in trouble.


  1. Actually, I’m glad Apple came out with Ping. Because it shows that they are willing to take some risks to be innovative. When you take risks, you fail sometimes. At least Ping is not something that I HAVE to use to use iTunes or something.
    So here’s to Ping!
    It will either be resurrected in a new more usable and value added form or it will fade until one day Apple announces it’s stopping it.

  2. @ theloniousMac

    So you are saying that none of the American 577 thousand plus followers of Katy Perry or the quarter million Linkin Park fans, for example, are not real Apple users.

    In addition, Ping is still limited to 23 countries with iTunes stores who have made agreements/licensing contracts with the respective international copyright owners to Ping them.

  3. I personally don’t want to share my preferences with anyone on the internet.

    Actual human interaction isn’t valued as much as it should be, and the trade off of social interaction vs lack of privacy leaves me with bad karma regarding the nature of these social websites such as Facebook and Twitter.

    I try as much as possible to not have a bar code on me while traversing the web. It’s difficult.

  4. Ping needs to liberate itself from it’s iTunes accounts. I would like to post/comment etc. without publishing my iTunes screen name all over the web. I have never posted a comment or rated anything on iTunes store. I have a feeling, I’m not alone amongst the 160 Million users.

    Ping, give us anonymous way to communicate, check out the water, or die of cold indifference from anyone that’s not a teenage EMO.

  5. “”But Ping came out half-baked,” Levy writes. “In the past, Apple has won big by solving problems before its competitors. Here it’s struggling with problems other players have already cracked.””

    In other words, for Apple to totally copy someone else…. they failed.

    So Apple is stupid for not copying Microsoft, Adobe, IBM, bla, bla bla.

    Why is it that no one, really NO ONE sees Apple thinking outside the box, until they grow the box to where everyone tried to be like Apple.?????

    Ping, its a hobby. Be very “werry” of Apples hobbies. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”grin” style=”border:0;” />

    Just a thought,

  6. Well, Ping is a part of iTunes, not a separate service. It’s meant to augment the iTunes Store experience, which is a “value-added service” that helps sell more Apple hardware. People have to remember that almost everything Apple does, except creating and selling hardware, is aimed at helping to create and sell ever more hardware.

    I think it is interesting to find out that someone I “follow” has purchased a particular song or album. I could not do that before in iTunes, and I end up checking out what they bought. And it’s useful to get “announcements” from artists that I follow, again as a part of using iTunes. Ping is just fine as an addition to what iTunes Store already does, because it makes finding new interesting (to me) content easier; it’s not meant to replace or compete with FaceBook.

  7. Apple chose to forfeit Facebook alliance because they rather have our privacy protected than by risking a product to take longer to flourish than sign a fast deal, remember google is having an issue with facebook because thier deal is ONE WAY (to facebook)

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