Will Apple Kill Off This Slacker?

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) has formally announced the end of its social music network, Ping, after adding closer social-networking integration to iTunes. Launched in 2010, Ping, which lets users post music tracks and albums to a feed that can be subscribed to by others, will officially close on September 30. Any playlists made within the network will be converted to iMixes, Apple’s publishable playlist format.

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Earlier this year, Apple chief executive Tim Cook admitted that Ping had never really worked. “We tried Ping and the customer voted, and we said, this isn’t something I want to put a lot of energy into,” he said at the AllThingsD conference.

On Wednesday, the company announced that the latest version of iTunes 11 will have several new sharing options for Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) and Twitter, making it the focus of Apple’s social-music efforts. Ping stopped accepting new users the same day.

Apart from the new social factor, iTunes 11 also adds a cleaner interface and iCloud integration, letting users display music, movie, and television purchases made on any iOS device in the iTunes library anytime. It also added a mini music player with a search box.

The iTunes Store now has more than 26 million songs, 190,000 TV episodes and 45,000 films, Apple said. The content libraries of Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN), Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), and Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) remain its biggest rivals.

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