The new version of iTunes has a slew of changes. These changes vary from the interface to the new PING feature. After you install the new version of iTunes, the first thing you notice is the icon that shows up on your dock. Why Apple decided to make these GUI changes, I dont know. After you proceed to launch the application you notice a few more changes within the application. There is no color at all with the buttons of the program. Everything has changed to complete greyscale. From the volume bar the store icons, you’ll notice these subtle changes. You also might notice the the RRG buttons that traditionally run horizontally on Apple programs is now running vertically. Again, why Apple decided to change that baffles me, a drastic change for Apple.
When you proceed to open the store, you’ll notice on the top right corner the option to sign up for PING. Once you click on it, you create your account profile, upload a picture and choose from three genres of music you like to listen to. Thats personally a lacking feature as I listen to various genres of music. From there you move onto the next page. This is where you can choose ten songs you like to listen to. iTunes by default chooses ten for you, but you have the option of not sharing, or choosing your own. When choosing your own, you must deselect each pre-selected song individually. You then continue with typing in a song, and it will come up in the search and you can add it. After you’ve made your ten choices you move on. Next in line is your privacy, choose who can add you and if they need your approval. Once that is finished, onto the recommendation page of what artists to follow. Again you’ll receive some recommendations. Choose whatever works for you and move on. It also chooses random people you may follow. I don’t know who these people are, perhaps they’re some random people who like the same music you do. I find that kind of weird. Ping does give you the option to use Facebook connect to find friends using the application as well. Below the people recommendations you’ll see any recent activity of the artists you’re following. From my search, there are some bands I like that don’t have pages yet. Im guessing as time goes on, bands will slowly be added to the slew of band pages. Ping must have just started with a handful of artists. So as of now, its still quite limited to artist selection. As you visit a friend’s page, you can click on their favorite songs/artist and like in the store, a window comes up giving you the option to preview the whole album or individual songs. Within artist pages, you’ll find pictures and videos posted as well as updated posts. While iTunes does link to Facebook connect, comments between the two applications run separate. Perhaps in the future we’ll see them join forces.
This is a start for iTunes, and as time goes on, surely they’ll be a slew of other features rolling out, and perhaps some open API………….To push out to other social networks ya know. We’ll see.
Update:Facebook Connect has disappeared from Ping.
Update: It turns out that Facebook blocked Apple from using Facebook Connect. Generally the API is open for public use unless the traffic coming through is a large number. 160 Million people on iTunes is considered to be a large number and Apple went ahead to use the API without FB’s permission. So surely in the future we’ll see some agreement come out of this.