Apple will stop Pinging by the end of 2012, according to anonymous sources within the company. All Things D is predicting that Apple’s social network for music will cease to exist with the company’s next iOS upgrade, said to be expected in the fall, with all Apple social network connections from that point concentrating on partnerships with Facebook and Twitter.
Ping – also known as iTunes Ping – was announced and launched September 1 2010, described by Steve Jobs as being “like Facebook and Twitter meet iTunes,” before adding that “It is not Facebook. It is not Twitter. It is something else we’ve come up with. It’s all about music.” Quite what that “something else” was, however, never became clear to the masses, and more than eighteen months later, the service seems at best an after-thought amongst Apple offerings.
It didn’t help that the service launched without its advertised Facebook integration – Facebook had, apparently, asked for “onerous terms that we could not agree to,” according to Jobs at the time – and found itself dealing with both reports of a high level of spamming and a reliance on members being limited to those with active iTunes accounts. Despite launching with 1 million members across 23 countries, growth stalled and the company started looking in other directions to fulfill its social interests.
As recently as last month, Apple CEO Tim Cook was suggesting that Ping wasn’t long for this virtual world. “We tried Ping, and I think the customer voted and said, ‘this isn’t something that I want to put a lot of energy into,’” he said in conversation at D10. “I don’t know [if Ping will survive]. We’ll look at it.”
Apparently, Apple has looked and made a decision: Cook was right, and there are better ways to pursue a social policy than with a service not enough people are using. If nothing else, the decision will hopefully make the iTunes interface that little bit cleaner as a result.