Interviews with ex-staff suggest failures start at top
After the negative reaction to Maps in iOS 6, the spotlight has once again shone on some of Apple's other large-scale service-based failures. Interviews with former employees, carried out by the New York Times, suggest that a set of repeated failures in Internet services stems from the top.
Twitter, Facebook integration to remain, replace it
After CEO Tim Cook admitting that music-based social network Ping had been one of Apple's occasional missteps, saying "I think the customer voted" on it and that Apple doesn't need its own social network, Apple has begun notifying users that Ping will no longer be available as of September 30 and is not accepting any new members. The two-year-old service, built into iTunes, gained millions of accounts when first introduced, but had issues with a failed plan to incorporate Facebook likes and sharing and faltered shortly afterwards.
Failed social network to be replaced by Twitter, Facebook hooks
Apple will put an end to Ping with the next major iteration of iTunes, according to "sources close to the company" cited by AllThingsD. The software will likely ship in the fall, the site suggests. After that stage, Apple's only efforts at social networking are expected to be integration with Twitter and Facebook.
iOS 5.1 beta 3 discoveries continue
More searching in Apple's iOS 5.1 beta 3 has uncovered references to elements once thought dead. The iMore exploration has shown references to Facebook contact entries. Apple was believed to have been tying Facebook into iOS 4 but to have backed out during the row over Ping integration.
Facebook chief grilled Steve Jobs on info
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg got direct advice from Steve Jobs on how to run a business, the social networking CEO mentioned in an interview due to air Monday night. The discussion on Charlie Rose saw Zuckerberg mention that he had a "lot of questions" for Apple's leader in his later years. He wanted to know the overall design and goals of companies but also to get the same inspiration from staff that Jobs had managed.
Facebook iPad app may be out of timing
Facebook's delay over its iPad app may have had as much to do with synchronizing with Apple as disputes with it, a rumor floated on Monday. The updated universal app is now believed by Mashable to be unveiled at the October 4 event for the iPhone 5. Apple's gathering is expected to introduce iOS 5 as well and may show an improved interface for the iPhone-sized version.
App was finished five months ago, dev says
The lead engineer for Facebook's still-unreleased iPad app ultimately quit the company over the delay, a blog post reveals. Jeff Verkoeyen writes that he helmed the project for about eight months, sometimes putting in as much as 80 hours per week to meet Facebook's schedule. But the company kept changing the schedule, which Verkoeyen says played a "large" contributing factor in the decision to quit Facebook and join Google.
Facebook iPad app enroute
Facebook is finally in development of a native iPad app, insiders divulged Thursday night. The free app would be specially optimized and has been given enough close interest that founder Mark Zuckerberg is personally involved in the design. The app seen by an NYT source wouldn't just include staple features like Chat but allow direct photo and video uploading with an "amazing" media browser.
Trademark focuses on paired-bubbles Ping icon
Apple today filed for a new trademark for its Ping bubbles symbol. Patently Apple reports that Apple applied for four distinct trademarks related to the paired bubbles, each resembling conversation bubbles from a comic strip, though the Apple bubbles are more stylized. The trademark applications are filed under classes for computer software, online retail services, entertainment and educational services and online social networking services.
Emphasis may be on media sharing
Tomorrow's Apple press event could signal the release of a new "social" mobile app, rumors suggest. The purpose of the alleged app is unclear; one source speculates that it could involve media, photo and/or location sharing. It could also involve Ping, or alternately MobileMe. In either case the person contends that if there is a surprise at the event, the app may be involved.
Calendar may hint at iPad 2 reveal
Is slightly extending Ping hooks with iOS 4.3, code from the latter's second beta shows. The service will now be able to trigger push notifications on Apple handhelds, presumably to update users on profile activity by friends and artists. As with other apps, people will be able to toggle sounds, alerts and badges for notifications using the appropriate Settings panel.
Echoes of Ping
A newly-published Apple patent application suggests the creation of a Ping-like social network for retail stores, AppleInsider notes. As a foundation, the patent argues that people will often take friends with them on shopping trips, or use phone calls and salespeople for advice. Apple's concept would allow people to communicate with others when shopping without having them immediately present.
Domain ownership dates back to 2006
Apple has turned to a long-owned domain in order to shorten links in Ping tweets, reports say. When Twitter integration was first introduced to Ping, it generated full-sized URLs; Apple is then said to have briefly enabled Twitter's own shortening service, t.co. Apple has now switched to itun.es, employing a domain it has actually controlled since December 2006.
Playlist, more artists may help increase interest
iTunes has quietly added playlist creation to its Ping social service, allowing users to import an existing playlist from the iTunes or create a new one on the spot, and share it with friends and strangers. Playlist creators can opt to allow friends to add songs to the playlist, and the list remains open for the originator to edit, add to or re-order. Any song available on the iTunes store can be used as part of a playlist.
Social network remains relatively marginal
Hoping to draw more attention to the Ping social network, Apple is offering early access to a previously unheard Michael Jackson song. Called "Much Too Soon," the track is from an upcoming collection simply called Michael. The album will be available through iTunes on December 14th; to hear Much Too Soon, though, people can currently stream it from the official Michael Jackson Ping profile.
Facebook CEO tells Apple to soften for Ping access
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg at the Web 2.0 Summit called for Apple to ease its approach to connecting Ping with Facebook. He downplayed Apple CEO Steve Jobs' assertions that Facebook had asked for "onerous terms" and instead saw it as a matter of adapting to a modern reality. Apple had to "get on the bus" as everything was being recreated with a social aspect, Zuckerberg said.
Both in general and parental preferences
Writer Kirk McElhearn noticed that the latest update to iTunes has added the option to disable the built-in social network Ping and remove it from the iTunes sidebar. A checkbox to show or not show Ping appears in both the General preferences and the Parental Controls. The service, while boasting over a million members, has struggled to find genuine enthusiasm, though a recent incorporation of Twitter accounts and easier music sharing may boost its fortunes.
Ping and Twitter connect
Apple and Twitter today said they had reached a deal to integrate Twitter accounts with Ping. Those who use the micromessaging service can both find other users who've connected their accounts to Ping as well as post any music and commenting activity on Ping and on Twitter at the same time. On the web, music shares will support playing a preview and linking back into the iTunes app.
Popularity of new service unclear
Only days after Apple quietly updated iTunes to bring more focus to its Ping service, the company has distributed an e-mail reminding users of the social networking features. The media software now provides options to recommend or comment on tracks that are currently playing, while the Recent Activity section includes communication from other Ping contacts.
Also features Ping summary and new controls
Apple has silently upgraded iTunes earlier today and restored the "Genius" features in a revamped fashion, renaming the sidebar (which became the "Ping" sidebar as of 10.0.1) to simply the "iTunes Sidebar." The new sidebar features Genius recommendations based on a selected song and even includes the ability to play samples of suggested songs without entering the iTunes store.
Facebook and Apple CEOs seen talking
Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg was reportedly invited to the home of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs two weeks ago to discuss the impasse on Ping. A spotter said the two were walking in conversation together in Palo Alto. The discussion details weren't intercepted by the LA Times observer but likely centered around restoring Facebook integration with Ping.
Recommends videos, pre-written posts
Apple has released official artist guidelines for Ping, the recently-launched social network integrated into iTunes 10. The PDF document takes musicians through creating a profile on Ping, and subsequently posting content. It moreover pushes "best practices," making a number of recommendations on how a profile should be used.
"Onerous terms" being resolved quietly?
Facebook CTO Bret Taylor told attendees at a dinner for New York media that he was "very confident" the two companies would reach a deal regarding Ping, iTunes' built-in social network focused on music, according to a report on Business Insider. Previous negotiations to bring Facebook users into the service collapsed after 18 months, forcing Apple to launch the service without Facebook integration.
iTunes 10.0.1 official with Ping sidebar, fixes
Apple overnight released iTunes 10.0.1 (84MB). The patch adds the previously hinted at Ping sidebar and gives listeners a way of tracking artists and friends while still looking at the iTunes library. It's also now possible to Like or Post from the library instead of just the iTunes Store.
May be one of multiple abandoned features
The latest revision of terms for the iTunes Store may point to a missing feature, observers remark. "We have changed the iTunes Store Terms and Conditions to provide you notice that if you have opted in to the Ping social network and use the new Ping Sidebar," the text reads, "iTunes will send information to Apple about the content you select in your iTunes library in order to provide you with Ping personal recommendations." There is no identifiable sidebar for Ping, whether in iTunes 10 or iOS.
Integration launched without Facebook's consent
Apple and Facebook were in discussions for 18 months or more before the launch of Ping, according to a source described as familiar with the talks. For a very brief time after the service's debut, Ping contained Facebook links, even though Apple did not have the necessary permission. Facebook subsequently blocked Ping, although Apple CEO Steve Jobs has claimed the links were omitted because of "onerous terms" being demanded.
Key features still missing
Apple has generally done well with its latest iPods, reviewers say. The iPod touch is so far garnering the most praise, for instance getting compliments on its thinness, audio quality and HD video recording from Wall Street Journal writer Katherine Boehret. Businessweek's Arik Hesseldahl claims that the player has "kicked up the intensity about a dozen notches" thanks to an A4 processor and a Retina Display. Edward Baig of USA Today points out that the Touch is now closer to the level of the iPhone 4, but still missing some core features, like a GPS receiver, an LED flash and a five-megapixel sensor for the rear camera.
Early problems not affecting membership
Apple has managed to clamp down on several of the early flaws of Ping, reports say. Initially the network was hit by a wave of spam, often pointing people to outside URLs with the promise of free iPads, iPods and iPhones. A variety of fake accounts were also created, in some cases spoofing the identities of Apple executives like CEO Steve Jobs and lead designer Jonathan Ive.
Ping at 1m as third of iTunes signs up
Apple tonight hit a milestone quickly as it reached over one million users of Ping within the first 48 hours of its going online. The tally represents a third of the three million that have downloaded iTunes 10. Internet Services VP Eddy Cue expected that number to grow much higher, as "many more people" are likely to download iTunes.
Lack of filtering blamed
Despite being active for just a few days, Apple's Ping social network is already being invaded by spammers, says a Sophos security analyst. Some profiles, such as Katy Perry's, are reportedly being flooded with messages, often from scammers promising free Apple gear. "If half as many free iPads, iPhones and iPods were being given away as Ping comments might lead you to believe, there would be no reason to bother with going to an Apple store," comments Sophos' Chester Wisniewski.
Companies still said to be in talks
Additional details regarding Facebook's dispute with Apple have emerged, suggesting that Apple attempted to connect Ping to the social networking service before both sides negotiated a deal. Although the Facebook Connect APIs are typically open for free use, the company requires an agreement when usage will have a significant impact on infrastructure.
New social network quickly drops Facebook ties
Links to Facebook have been excluded from Ping because of "onerous terms," according to Apple CEO Steve Jobs. When Ping was launched yesterday, it was promoted as having Facebook Connect support; the language is still present on Apple's official page. For a short time on Wednesday night, the option existed to invite new friends to Ping through Facebook.
Name originally tied to golf equipment
Apple's new Ping social network -- introduced alongside iTunes 10 -- required a special trademark agreement to make happen, a press statement reveals. Karsten Manufacturing notes that it technically owns the Ping name for one of its sub-brands, which produces golf equipment. Apple should only be able to use the Ping name in conjunction with the social network.
Users can follow artists, friends
Alongside Apple's new iPod unveilings, the company has introduced a major update to iTunes. Version 10 focuses on social networking with a new "Ping" feature. Users can now follow favorite artists and friends, listen to previews of music they like, or view tour dates. Status updates and media uploads work in a similar way to networks such as Facebook.