The new iTunes 10 is now available to download with all of its new features, including Apple’s own integrated social network Ping that is all about the music and following your favourite artists.
Apple announced the new iTunes 10 at the annual Music Event on the 1st September alongside the new iPod line up, with the main new features being the integrated social music network Ping and TV Show rentals. We have taken a look at these new features and thought we would share our initial views as well.
Social Music Network Ping
It has long been rumoured that Apple where looking to make iTunes more social, and with the announcement of Ping, the integrated iTunes social music network, they have taken the first step. We will explain why we think it is just the first step after looking at the features of Ping.
Ping is basically a service for allowing you and your friends to follow the artists you like, and then share your views with each other. Once you have created your profile, followed some artists (not that many to follow at initial launch i found), and invited some friends to join you, you and your friends can see what music you all have bought, the reviews you have written, and the artists you are following our recommending. In the privacy settings you can choose how much and with whom you want to share the information.For the artists you follow you will also be able to get first hand information about their concert schedule.
Of course Ping is also a tool for Apple to sell more music, as you will find easy buy links next to music that your friends recommend or have bought. Ping is in that sense very much an integrated iTunes music store feature.
For those familiar with Apple you will probably find that Ping is not as open as many other social networks. There is currently no integration or sharing with any other social network, including Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace. For now Ping is an isolated social music network that is not talking to the wider social web. As we said, it is the first step, but they could have easily opened it up a bit more to the outside world. After all, there are only so many social networks people can be asked to deal with. Not being able to show, at least to some degree, activity on other social networks will also limit the reach and earning potential for Apple from Ping.
For now we choose to look at this as the first babystep into the social world, and then we can only hope that Apple does something more than just drain our pockets in the next round.
Rent TV Shows in HD
As always when dealing with TV networks etc you get into licensing and distribution rights by country, so this new features of iTunes 10 is only available in the US at the moment with no announcement as of yet when it will become available in the UK.
The option to rent a TV Show instead of buying it is primarily focused towards people who opt for the new Apple TV where there is no physcial storage and all content is streamed, but it is also avaiable to use on your computer/mac, iPod Touch, or your iPhone.
$0.99 is the price for renting an episode which you then have 30 days to watch (48 hours once you have started watching it), and the episodes will be commercial free for now at least.
In a response to Apple announcing $0.99 TV episode rental, Amazon are saying that they will offer to purchase the same episode for the same price (AppleInsider).
iTunes 10 Airplay wireless streaming
Airplay is the new service from Apple that will let you stream your music wirelessly throughout your house, providing you have accessories that are Airplay compatible that is.
Apple says that Airplay wireless technology will soon find its way to speaker docks, AV receivers, and stereo systems from the likes of Bowers & Wilkins, Denon, and iHome.
If you however don’t fancy upgrading all your sound systems and docking stations to support Airplay, you can always invest in a bluetooth adapter instead, such as the Cerulean RX+TX from iSkin.
And no, we are not talking about wireless syncing (unfortunately)! What Apple is talking about when it comes to improved syncing is displaying a capacity bar that in real time tells you how much space you have left on your device. Again, babysteps!
Should i download iTunes 10?
The main new features of iTunes 10 is the addition of social music network Ping, as besides that there is little that is revolutionary about this upgrade. We can’t however think of any reason not too upgrade to iTunes 10, although we have to say that it could have done with some more color!
You can download iTunes 1o with Ping for free from Apple website today.