Today Apple released its
groundbreaking new injection into the social media market in the form of Ping, their flagship social media platform. Ping, as Apple would describe it, is a social network for music where you can ‘follow your favorite artists and friends to discover the music they’re talking about, listening to and downloading’. Now without considering its various merits (or lack thereof), that just sounds like some tired old social media line, hovering around the subject of conversation. Lackluster, boring and frankly dated. They could have at least got someone with a certain degree of lexical creativity to sparkle it up a bit. Social media is about conversation, yes, but its also about innovation, creativity and excitement.
You missed out on this one, Jobs.
The story doesn’t get much better after that, as we learn that Ping is going to be primarily centred in iTunes 10 (which was also launched today), with no web support and limited device support.
Are. You. Serious?
iTunes has risen to disgusting ubiquity as the only fully supported music library (and online store) that will sync with an iPod or iPhone, products that are also more or less ubiquitous in todays western world. The iPod I like, but the software for it is terrible. iTunes is a RAM-hungry, slow, often times buggy (on both PC’s and Mac’s), poor excuse (or choice for that matter) for a music content management system. Frankly I cannot believe that Apple have chosen to launch Ping inside it.
Thankfully, not everyone likes Ping, and I’m happy in the knowledge that I am not along in my dislike of iTunes. An excellent article by @jemimakiss on the Guardian website pretty much says everything I was already thinking in a far more eloquent way (she was paid to do it, I’m trying to write this before bed!). Others have dubbed Ping as ‘interesting’ but ‘noting to get excited about’, and another excellent post by Nick Oneil breaks down the 10 reasons why Ping isn’t going anywhere very fast.
This story could have had a different tone to it, had Facebook been on board, but due to ‘onerous’ terms the partnership was cut short before it even started. Jobs has said its no big deal, I think he’s saving face.
I don’t like Jobs, which is weird for me as I have been an extreme apple advocate in the past, bordering on a crazed evangelist, and I wouldn’t go back to using a PC if you paid me. Honestly I find him to be arrogant, bigoted and completely frustrating (I’m fighting the desire to use obscenity here!). His war with Adobe is a perfect example of this, and is frankly ridiculous. I have also recently begun to move more and more into the open source culture, or at least look for cross over programs which I can use, which of course is the antithesis of the Apple organisation.
I am particularly excited about Diaspora, the open source social networking project, but I’m digressing and that is for another time.
If you want to check Ping out then follow this link to update your iTunes to version 10, followed by selling your soul to Jobs, and getting ‘involved’ with the Ping ‘community’. Before long your pocket will be a little bit lighter, your music collection slightly augmented, and a smug Jobs with that irksome grin will be patting himself on the back, laughing at the criticism that Ping received on launch, and counting his dollar.