Apple Will Threaten Facebook With iTunes' Ping

Apple may well use iTunes as a trojan horse to mount a far reaching assault on Facebook with the release of Ping, a social feature integrated within iTunes which looks a lot like Myspace, only better.

The 10th version of iTunes ups the ante by allowing users to connect to friends and artists that they like and Steve Jobs made it clear that it is a social network that's being launched, one that has 160 million regular users already and all of them with their credit card details already entered.

Social networking is huge for Apple; the company's iTunes and App Store accounts on Facebook have a combined "like" membership of more than 6.2 million and the Cupertino-based company has been quietly building its user base.

With 160 million users, iTunes is not far from Twitter (which has around 190 million visitors) and growing at the rate of seven million users a month, a rate of growth that is set to increase dramatically as Apple adds more territories to its realm.

Apple knows that social networking started with music; Myspace was the first big social network around and the company, as it has been the case for so many times in the past, is re-engineering an old idea, adding its own twist to it.

Ping brings the best bits of Facebook and Twitter together, the ability to friend and follow others, the interaction with statuses but throws in something unexpected, the ability to buy tracks now (and possibly much more later).