Okay, seriously, WTF Apple? iTunes 10 UI changes-for-the-sake-of-changes aside, what is it you’ve actually got here? The ‘Facebook’ of music? The ‘Twitter’ of media? No. At best, you have a crappy, restrictive accounts system that users now have the option to make public.
I know some people wanted this system, they see iTunes as Last.fm on steroids, but I really don’t see this as Apple’s advantage.
Apple has typically done well in areas where either genuine innovation is required or where others have made barely adequate inroads.
The social media arena is neither, and right now Apple looks like the dude who shows up late to the party and starts chugging Schlitzes. What do users actually want? Music data from iTunes available to their existing social media tools. Unfortunately, this doesn’t further Apple’s agenda, so what we got was Ping.
The one element of the whole thing that looked promising, the ability to tie into at least one other social network has fizzled out already. Apple included Facebook Connect access in Ping and it worked on day one. On day two the feature was broken, and promptly removed by Apple.
Similar to Facebook’s problem with Twitter simply hooking into their public API, they somehow felt that Apple dumping an additional couple of million connections on their probably already strained system might be something they should discuss over coffee first.
The general word from my colleagues and pundits web-wide is that patience is a virtue, that Apple knows best and that the long term may bring clarity to this musical mess. I guess we’ll see.