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iTunes 10 Gets 'Ping' Music Social Network

Andy Vandervell

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iTunes 10 Gets 'Ping' Music Social Network

iTunes doesn't have a great reputation among TrustedReviews' staffers, but the program and its affiliated store remain the most recognised names in music retailing. It's a point Steve Jobs was all too keen to stress today as he introduced the latest version, iTunes 10.

What's new? Well, due to the decline of CD, Apple has given it a new logo that no longer features one. Things run a little deeper than that, however, with a tweaked interface and new features to match. On the interface front, Apple has tweaked the list view so that (where there are more than five tracks in an album) album art is listed instead. This is to make better use of the space, and has more than a little whiff of Windows Media Player about it - in fact from a distance the similarities are uncanny.

Of greater significance is what Apple calls Ping, a music social network integrated directly into iTunes. It is, in effect, Facebook and Twitter combined but with music, where you can follow artists and friends, receive personalised chart lists based on your habits, and find out what your friends are up to.

We can't say it's something we expected from Apple, and we're not sure the world really needs another social network, but here it is. Naturally it's being integrated into iOS 4, too. It should be available "immediately", but at time of writing there's no sign of the download on Apple's website.

ffrankmccaffery

September 2, 2010, 8:55 am

And just before you thought they couldn't make it any worser.

Greg17b

September 2, 2010, 12:38 pm

iTunes is the sticking point in me buying more Apple devices outside of my iPhone. It is clumsy, awkward and scarily unresponsive on a quad core 8gb Windows 7 monster PC.

Cub

September 2, 2010, 12:46 pm

The biggest change is that the traffic light buttons appear to vertically now and not horizontally! So much for UI consictency...





@ffrankmccaffery - how is it "worser" exactly? I'll assume you're talking about "Ping", a feature that you don&#8217t have to use if you don&#8217t want to but which hundreds of thousands of people will most likely love, find lots of practical usage for, and most importantly, won&#8217t fill up the worlds&#8217 Facebook news streams.


This is ignoring the fact that you will never own an Apple product and it, therefore, will never impact you in the slightest. Infact, it&#8217s aided your life... It&#8217s given you something else in Apple&#8217s product range to moan endlessly about...





I await your response as to how I have just blindly jumped to Apple&#8217s defense...

CraigD

September 2, 2010, 12:46 pm

I know it's not a big issue but for a company that rarely gets the design side wrong, that has got to be the worst logo I've ever seen. It looks like word 97 clip art.

Jones

September 2, 2010, 12:54 pm

@CraigD - it is one stinking logo to be fair. A real 90s type mess.





As per usual, Apple have reacted to others, stolen a few ideas and mashed it all up into a package that they market as being their own idea.





Im not all that keen on iTunes to be fair. The only thing I like is that I can rate my music from 1-5 which helps me build better playlists. Other than ripping music losslesly (and I know that's not really necessary), that's it!!!

ffrankmccaffery

September 2, 2010, 1:03 pm

@Cub: Still seething after all this time? Has it ever occurred to you that I may allow a friend of family member to use my computer to sync their iPod or iPhone?

jingyeow

September 2, 2010, 1:05 pm

@CraigD - Yeah the logo looks a little fisher price, but we have to roll with the times. Remember when buildings used to be built with bricks? Now they're all built with glass, but still fit for purpose. I guess in a touch screen world this new logo can perform that (press/depress) touchscreen animation.





@Greg - iTunes in it's last iterations has become surprisingly good performance wise. They've made improvements to the way album artwork appears and how iTunes loads large libraries which was the major reason for performance lag in my opinion. In terms of management, I can't think of a better piece of music software.

jingyeow

September 2, 2010, 1:56 pm

I take it back the logo looks quite good when it's on your desktop, not zoomed in on as on the TR page.

Simon

September 2, 2010, 2:23 pm

I don't own any Apple hardware so don't need to use iTunes but did years ago for music management. After i upgraded to Vista i dropped it for WMP as i found it slow and unresponsive. Have they fixed that yet?





As for the logo, i was hoping that it was one that TR knocked together, as it is rubbish!

aidanpower

September 2, 2010, 3:44 pm

I like the UI changes and it feels snappier with each new version. But I have to wonder how useful Ping will actually be... I buy music from many different sources so a social network that gets information about my music preferences solely from my iTunes purchases is a bit pointless... Why not integrate genius into ping? Right now it's just a thinly veiled way of promoting the iTunes store.

deus1066

September 2, 2010, 3:58 pm

@Greg - iTunes runs much better on a Mac then it does on a PC, presumably they don't put so much effort into their PC versions.





It still isn't 64 bit on the Mac though, which makes it just about the only major OS X app that isn't. The new logo is pretty rubbish, and I don't see why they're so willing to break UI consistency with the new traffic light orientation of the buttons. It was bad when we had brushed metal, grey and pin-stripe windows designs in OS X. Thankfully they unified them, but now we have apps like itunes 10, quicktime X and garage band which look competely unrelated and unlike anything else on the OS. Its very annoying.

Cub

September 2, 2010, 4:11 pm

@ffrankmccaffery - My apologies, did I say something that seemed seething? I was just after some rational, or an explination, behind your vague comment...





To be honest, it didn't occur to me. I would *never* have guessed that you would have Apple software installed on your PC.





For what it's worth, Ping isn't for me and I have absolutely no intention of using it beyond a curious poke around once I've installed iTunes 10.

Jay4d0

September 2, 2010, 4:31 pm

I havent tried it out yet but from the screen shots it looks like they may have removed Home Share, which means you will have to go back to the good old USB drive to share apps between different computers.


anyone know if it is actually gone now?





as for the new logo at this moment I'm not a fan but I'll get used to it.

Gav66

September 2, 2010, 5:11 pm

Oops, I think I might have wandered into a meeting of Pedantics Anonymous by mistake.


Seriously ... the logo? Not liking a logo? I think I'll just grab a biscuit and head on out ... :-)

ffrankmccaffery

September 2, 2010, 5:26 pm

@Cub: And yet earlier you seemed certain that an Apple product would never impact my life? This isn't going all that well is it?

Cub

September 2, 2010, 6:05 pm

@ffrankmccaffrey - You know, I'm starting to think it's actually a problem with *me* that you have, not so much with Apple. Did I bully you as a child, or run over your cat or something? I don't seem to be able to say a thing on this site without having you explode in my ear.





My point still stands. You don't have to activate Ping on your machine, and it doesn't have to impact your life. You know, you don't even have to update iTunes if you don't want to!





And you still haven't answered my initial question of how you think iTunes has become "worser"?

Jay4d0

September 2, 2010, 6:11 pm

@Gav66: lol, did you not find it a struggle when they changed the note from green to blue? :P

GoldenGuy

September 2, 2010, 7:02 pm

Not that bothered about the logo to be honest. It makes sense to ditch the CD and use something more generic, though it's a shame they didn't take the opportunity to create something really beautiful and intricate, which is a hallmark of Apple's icons (the Mail, iWeb, and textured Dictionary logos are stunning). How do you convey the act of downloading, though? Don't know.





Is it just me or is the removal of colour from the sidebar and preference icons making the whole damn thing feel dull and depressing now? Maybe my eyes are just drawn to the initial change, but it's amazing how losing a little dab of purple or green brings the whole thing down.





From a more practical point of view, I'm worried that embedding Album Art into the list view is going to slow down an already bloated program.

ffrankmccaffery

September 2, 2010, 7:23 pm

@Cub: Didn't you initiate this whole discussion by responding to my first comment?


You answered your own question regarding my description of iTunes becoming worser.


This really isn't going well for you is it?

Keithe6e

September 2, 2010, 8:40 pm

@Cub: I think I now understand why @ffrankmccaffery's responses seem strange, I'm sure he's been going to this version of TR ->


http://www.degraeve.com/cgi-bi...





@Simon: After i upgraded to Vista i dropped it for WMP as i found it slow and unresponsive. Have they fixed that yet?





No WMP is still slow and unresponsive ... :)

Gary

September 2, 2010, 9:24 pm

First i must state that I am not an Apple hater, nor am I a Microsoft fan. I have a iPhone 3gs and love it but I HATE iTunes, having used Windows Media Player for my music and been able to do simple things like put music in multiple categories (Classical, Baroque etc...) and many other simple features. Moving over to iTunes was so depressing,"I just need to get used to it and find other ways of doing things" I said to myself. Only to find that no, there was no easy or hard way of doing things in iTunes that I took for granted in WMP.





But now we have iTunes 10, I leapt in and what I have I found? well not very much so far. Starting to look a bit more like WMP but this is only skin deep, I can not find any additional features, still not as easy to use as WMP. I have used iTunes for over a year now and I still do not find it intuitive, WMP I was using within 5 minutes and was able to do so much more so much more quickly.





Apple normally beat Microsoft hands down but I think this is the one area and maybe the only area (apart from maybe windows media center) where microsoft come out on top.

ffrankmccaffery

September 2, 2010, 9:40 pm

@Keith: I'm actually quite flattered to have riled you so much for you to go to such lengths. All that effort for me?

supersizeme

September 3, 2010, 12:36 am

Wow, to hell with iTunes, I just want to get smurfed....

Keithe6e

September 3, 2010, 12:45 am

@ffrankmccaffery: All that effort for me?





I know, I normally charge £80 per hour for such services. :)

Greg17b

September 3, 2010, 2:32 am

MY library isn't huge - some 8,000 songs - and iTunes still runs like an absolute dog for me on a PC which is more than up to the task. The lag is dreadful, and as the common denominator for many Apple devices, is a massive weak link in their chain.





I thought Apple and Microsoft stopped releasing buggy, rubbish software for each others platforms years ago? Keeping iTunes this bad won't make me buy a Mac - I'll just ditch the iPhone instead if it doesn't improve.

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