Apple dove head first into social media with the launch of Ping, the company’s latest version of iTunes, an offering comparable to Facebook or Twitter for music lovers.
As expected, the company also unveiled a new version of Apple TV for $99, along with a TV show rental service. Initially, ABC and Fox have agreed to rent individual episodes of their series for 99 cents each.
With Ping, Apple has created a new social network that appears to serve as both a promotional platform for music artists and a music discovery vehicle. Users can elect to follow their favorite bands, and those artists can post photos, videos, album updates and tour dates via the service.
In addition, Ping allows users to follow friends and share information on their own music collections and their opinions on various artists.
There is also a "Recent Activity" feed, which automatically displays the top songs and albums users' friends are listening to or have downloaded recently. However, unlike Facebook or Twitter, Ping is not advertiser supported (iTunes has never carried advertising).
See also: "Why Apple Rental Plan Alienates Most Studios"