iTunes 10: New Icon & Ping Music Social Network [Update]

iTunes 10

iTunes 10

Apple announced iTunes 10 Wednesday during its annual Fall media event. The new version of the company’s media management and playback software (and online music, video, and application store) gets an updated icon for the first time, and the company added a new social networking platform called Ping, as well.

During the media event, Apple CEO Steve Jobs said Ping was, “like Facebook and Twitter meet iTunes,” and the company is pitching it as music social networking platform. “With Ping you can follow your favorite artists and friends and join a worldwide conversation with music’s most passionate fans,” Mr. Jobs added in statement.

Ping offers features designed to help users discover new music and share their favorite music with fans, as well as to follow their favorite musicians. Ping users can set up a profile (bands automatically have a profile) and follow each other or follow their favorite bands. Users can then post comments on the pages of those they follow. Band profiles show concert dates, at least for those bands handled by Live Nation Entertainment.

Apple also allows users to decide whether or not they can be followed in the first place, with different levels of following permissions (open following, approved following, and a concept the company is calling “Circle of Friends” for small groups who want to participate in Ping without outsiders being able to follow them.

In his keynote presentation, Mr. Jobs said that privacy in Ping “is super simple.”

Ping is accessible through iTunes on Mac and Windows, as well as through iTunes on iPhone and iPod touch. It requires iOS 4 or later, which means iPad won’t get Ping until iOS 4.2 gets released for that device in November.

Another new feature in iTunes 10 is the way the software displays album cover art in your Music library. If you have five or more songs from a single album in your library, instead of repeating the album name for each song, iTunes will display the album cover art.

iTunes 10 is free and will be available today, and Ping accounts will open today as well. As of this writing, iTunes 10 downloads have not begun on Apple’s site.

[Update: The article was updated with additional information.]