The Story about Ping (and iTunes 10)

To me, Ping is a duck who gets left behind one afternoon and spends a whole children’s book trying to get back to his family and their boat on the Yangtze River.

Like my fowl little friend Ping, Apple’s iTunes app has been left behind for a while. Still sporting a CD in its icon, iTunes gets a facelift and new features this week, including the Ping social network, 99¢ TV show rentals, AirPlay wireless music playback, and improved syncing.

iTunes Ping is the most interesting part of this upgrade. The Ping social network lets us all become online groupies without ever having to sneak backstage or hide out on the tour bus.

Just click the Follow button, and you can see status updates, photos and videos they’ve posted, and find details on new releases and concerts. Ping will definitely help musicians connect with their fans in new ways. Still no word on whether Apple will extend the tool to podcasters (like yours truly).

You can create your own profile in Ping to share let everyone know about the music your listening to, the videos you’re watching, and the live events you attend. Ping will create customized top ten lists, based on what you listen to and what the people you follow listen to and download.

Want to limit who can see details about your status and what you listen too? You can create a circle of friends (like a group) and keep things just among your closest buddies.

Ping is built into iTunes 10, which you can download for free from the Apple site. According to Steve Jobs, right this minute, you could connect to over 160 million iTunes users in 23 countries with Ping. Don’t be like my little duck friend though. Download it now so you won’t be left behind!

How to Add More Music to Your iPod or iPhone

If you’re a music fanatic, I bet you’ve griped many times about the lack of space for tunes on your Apple device. With the release of the new version of iTunes today, those rants will hopefully be relegated to the past. Apple has added a feature to reduce the size of the music files on your iPod or iPhone by converting the bit rate to 128 kbps. Most of you will never notice a difference in the quality of what you’re hearing when playing back your selections.

Install the update and begin your sync. Make sure to check “Convert higher bit rate songs to 128 kbps AAC” when you plug in your device. The sync will take longer than usual, because the application will need to convert all of the media to the new specification. You will be rewarded for the wait, though. Your iPhone or iPod will now be able to hold up to twice as many individual tracks as before.

This feature has been available on the iPod Shuffle for a while now, and many of us are happy to see that it has been extended to other popular Apple gadgets. Keep in mind that your original files in iTunes will not change. They will still have the same high quality as they had prior to the changes on the device.

What tech developments have come to your attention today? If you have anything to pass on that we may have missed on this blog, feel free to drop us a line.

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