iTunes 10 is all about Ping, Apple's new music social network. Like Twitter, you can follow and be followed. You can be public about it or be private (jerk). Captain Jobs is hoping artists will be public.
Ping is feed-based, like Twitter or Facebook or whatever. You can post videos, photos, comments, opinions or songs - and comment on all of those things - a lot like you can on Facebook. Posted songs are one-click buyable. If you're looking at an artist, it shows their upcoming concerts. On your landing page, it shows concerts going on near you.
It lives inside of iTunes and is integrated throughout (sorta, kinda like Genius is now). It's also on the iPhone and iPod Touch, in the iTunes Store app, which shows recent activity, where you'll see recent activity from your friends and the various artists you might be following. (They are not your friends.) You'll have custom song and album charts, populated by what you and your buds are listening to the most.
The idea behind Ping is to introduce you to music you might not have heard of before.
So far, iTunes has served up 11.7 billion songs, 450 million TV episodes, 100 million movies, 35 million books and has 160 million accounts. That's a lot of people you can follow and a lot of music that can be passed around. Especially since Ping will be available on the iPhone as well.
Other features announced today? If you have five or more songs in a row in iTunes, you'll automatically see album art displayed next to it like so:
Tunes 10 is available today, free, around the world. Which means you've only got so long before people start forcing the latest Vampire Weekend mishmash on you.
You can also stream content from your computer to Apple TV - a welcome move to wireless media transfer with no streaming required. If you're in the US, that content will come cheaper than it has previously too, with $US1 TV show rentals and $US5 movie rentals.
What isn't iTunes 10? The cloud-based music service we've been hoping for, and that's been rumoured for months. The consensus seems to be that it's Apple's goal as well, but there's been difficulty getting the record labels onboard.