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How Apple's Lame Ping Social Network Might Yet Thrive on the iPad

Apple (APPL) made a big fuss over the Beatles on iTunes today, but the tech giant was all but silent as it released its lame duck "music social network" Ping onto the iPad this week. Which is too bad, because it looks like Ping may find a new, better life on the mobile devices.

For starters, Ping's competition diminishes greatly on the iPad. MySpace is in the midst of an identity crisis -- it barely has its act together, so the mobile initiatives are scattered at best. Facebook is focused on revolutionizing communications, but it still hasn't released an iPad app. Twitter has a slick iPad app, nice enough to influence its traditional website, but lacks the music focus or the easy multimedia access in Ping.

The biggest problem facing Ping is that music socialites have retrofitted the long-standing social networks to fit their needs. Those networks haven't adapted to the iPad, either by not doing a standalone app or making their websites iPad friendly, which gives Ping a huge advantage at the moment.

Furthermore, Ping doesn't require a download because it isn't an app. iPad users simply open iTunes on their iPad and see a Ping icon included along the bottom of the screen. From finding friends to liking music, everything from the home version is available. It is treated as another iTunes function, like Cover Flow or music searches, instead of a separate function.

And, believe it or not, iTunes can use as much promotion as possible. As my BNET colleague Erik Sherman notes, iTunes music digital and related sales are actually down -- making both the Beatles coup and Ping's move to mobile not only good, but essential.

Photo courtesy of swanksalot // CC 2.0

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