On September 1st, Apple announced during their live streaming event a new social networking feature and included in an updated iTunes 10 called Ping. It didn’t take more than 48 hours for Apple to receive a significant user group. On their website, Apple quickly explained that 1 million people have already signed up with a Ping account.
1 million members in a social network in just 2 days is an impressive number, but Ping only has room to grow. There are a total of 160 million iTunes members that can potentially create Ping accounts. The thing that may be holding them up is the fact that they haven’t updated to Apple’s iTunes 10. Ping is only available in iTunes 10 and users will have to download the latest version of the software to see the Ping option in the iTunes left navigation bar.
Apple explains that 3 million individuals have already downloaded the updated iTunes. One third of possible users is an impressive number. If all 160 million iTunes users eventually download iTunes 10, we can expect Ping with roughly 53 million users. If those numbers hold true, Apple could have a social network 1/3rd the size of Twitter in just a matter of months. Those are numbers to pay attention to.
Initial registration numbers are impressive, but Apple has some growing of its own to do. Its clear that Apple is new to the social networking market and many features that users would like to have such as posting home-made videos and pictures are only available to music artists registered with Apple. The network feels like its designed to help sell music and not to help users enjoy a better music experience.
Apple originally planned to make it easy for users to find friends through Facebook Connect, but the feature was quickly disabled after iTunes 10 was available for download. Its still not clear if the removal of Facebook Connect was an Apple decision or because the feature was blocked by Facebook. But the lack of another viable option (You can email your friends but nothing built to look at your address book from gmail or other mail account) to find friends makes the social network weak at its core. If you can’t connect to your friends, will you ever really use Ping?
Let us know what you think of Ping in the comments, or if you even plan to create an account?
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