All good Pings must come to an end, and for Apple's social network Ping, that end date is coming soon.
Apple has officially announced that Ping, its music-based social network baked into the iTunes desktop player, will shut down on September 30. Clicking on the Ping tab (try it, just once, while you can) brings up a message that says just that; 9to5Mac has a larger screenshot:
Introduced at a September 2010 Apple event as "a social network for music," Ping never really caught on with music-listeners. A kerfuffle with Facebook over sharing activity may have doomed Ping from the start: Facebook blocked access to Ping, which made it impossible to find Facebook friends who were also using Ping.
Ironically, Ping will be replaced with deep Facebook integration in iTunes 11. When that version of iTunes becomes available in October, you'll be able to see whenever your Facebook friends "Like" an artist, song or album on iTunes.
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This is most the obvious and the most packed with irony, given that Apple is <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/24/apple-samsung-lawsuit-verdict_n_1829268.html?1345857263&utm_hp_ref=technology" target="_hplink">suing</a> Samsung in every country it can. The new, larger iPhone -- with a 4-inch display vs. the 3.5-inch display on all older models -- is closer in size to the 4.8-inch span on the Galaxy S III's screen. Was Apple's decision to up the iPhone's screen real estate a response to the popularity of Samsung's plus-sized and popular handsets?
Google, which makes the operating system the Galaxy smartphones run on, is also embroiled in spat with the iPhone maker. Apple snidely decided to make <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/11/apple-debuts-maps-app_n_1587726.html" target="_hplink">its own map app for iOS 6</a>, which ships on the iPhone 5; Google Maps won't be preloaded onto iOS 6 devices. (Users can still go to the App Store and download it themselves.) Apple touts Maps as being <a href="http://www.apple.com/iphone/features/" target="_hplink">smooth and responsive,"</a> implying that Google Maps left something to be desired.
HTC And Nokia
So the new iPhone can take panoramic photographs, huh? Where have we seen that before? Oh right: Both HTC and Nokia smartphones. Nokia's new Lumia 920 comes with a camera setting that lets users <a href="http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-19512_7-57510802-233/iphone-5-vs-galaxy-s3-vs-lumia-920-by-the-numbers/" target="_hplink">create panorama shots of their surroundings</a>; HTC Windows Phones have come with a similar tool into the camera software "for some time now," <a href="http://www.pocket-lint.com/news/44983/nokia-creative-studio-for-windows-phone" target="_hplink">according to Pocket-lint</a>. (Image courtesy of Apple.)
Another nifty photo-related feature of the iPhone 5 is the ability to seamlessly share pictures with your friends. "The Shared Photo Streams feature is arguably the most practical addition, since previously sharing photos by email limited users to sending 5 photos at a time," <a href="http://techcrunch.com/2012/09/12/apple-shows-off-panoramic-photos-better-photo-sharing-in-new-iphone/" target="_hplink">explains TechCrunch</a>. "MMS'ing photos is also not ideal." But text and email's limitations haven't stopped iPhone users from sharing photos. Instagram didn't get to 100 million users by being a bad alternative for publishing mobile pics. There are also plenty of photo-sharing app out there, with smaller but devoted user bases than Instagram's. (Photo courtesy of <a href="http://www.engadget.com/2012/09/12/iphone-5-hands-on-video-details/" target="_hplink">Engadget</a>)