Ping! Ping! Ping! Apple's sorta-kinda social network is back in the news this weekend. After we all scratched our heads at the lack of Facebook integration, which was quickly pulled just hours after it was introduced at Apple's September music event, it turns out the iTunes team has instead been working with Twitter to bring similar interaction to the service. Ping also shortens URLs with Twitter's official solution (t.co) to make them less ridiculously long. Kevin Thau explains how it works over at the official company blog (Twitter + Ping = Discovering More Music - Twitter Blog).

It's hard to believe that Ping still isn't available on the iPad for the general public, but it will be very soon. Apple switched on the Ping tab inside the iTunes Store app on iPads running the latest iOS 4.2 developer builds today, and there's no surprises here: if you've ever used Ping on your iPhone, it feels almost exactly the same except with a bit more space on the larger screen. Nevertheless, Mark Gurman has uploaded a bunch of screenshots of Ping in action to go and check out (Ping comes to iPad - 9 to 5 Mac).

Bill Campbell might not sound like a household name in technology, but the Silicon Valley advisor is one of the most influential players in the industry, as this Fortune profile reveals. He currently sits on Apple's board, and in this interview he discusses his jobs at both Google and Apple while working his way up to the top of the chain to end up receiving compliments such as “There's something deeply human about him” from none other than Steven P. Jobs (The secret coach - CNN Money).

Damon Darlin writes an interesting piece on why companies such as Apple create completely free software updates for products like the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad, while introducing new hardware. He says it does a great deal to increase brand loyalty, using Apple's phone as an example: “Consider the cellphone. You buy it with a two-year contract from a network provider, an arrangement that encourages a regular and timely churn of customers…But Apple essentially gives its iPhone owners a new phone several times during that contract period.*When it introduced the iPhone 4, for example, it said the phone would have new operating system software…That might have been an incentive to dump the old phone and to buy the new one. But Apple also downloaded the same software to the previous year’s model, the iPhone 3 GS…Without having to spend a dime, people got what was essentially a brand new phone, one that could do nearly everything the newer model could do.” (Capturing Hearts, One Upgrade at a Time - The New York Times).

Instapaper founder Marco Arment has a developer dilemma. It's all to do with the splash screen that briefly displays while most apps load. Apple recommends that iOS developers employ a simple static graphic that gives the appearance of being loaded so that the process feels faster – but with an app that features different interfaces throughout (reading in dark mode looks completely different to scrolling through a list of articles in the default light mode), it can appear to be a very awkward transition between the home screen and a live application (My Default.png dilemma - Marco.org).

Now is a good time to fire up Software Update, because Apple's released a new version of Mac OS X in the past few days. 10.6.5 squashes some bugs, “including printing problems, Exchange compatibility, and improved graphics drivers that "address stability and performance of graphics applications and games” and more, including a focus on graphics updates and the obligatory security updates, a large majority of which clean up after Adobe Flash's various holes and bugs. More details from Chris Foresman (Apple releases Mac OS X 10.6.5 with graphics fixes, no AirPrint - Ars Technica).

Mark Papermaster (the executive Apple fought so hard to snatch from IBM just a short time ago) got the sack a few months ago. Largely because of the iPhone 4 ‘Antennagate’ kerfuffle that caused one of Apple's biggest PR disasters in the last decade, Papermaster has been jobless until just a few days ago. He's now taken up a position at former Apple enemy turned partner Cisco, working on “chips for switches”, according to Fox Business reporter Shibani Joshi (Cisco hires former Apple… - Twitter).

When was the last time you opened iTunes on your desktop and purchased an iBook? Never, because Apple doesn't allow it. Instead, the iBookstore is hidden inside the iBooks app, a free but optional download from the App Store on iOS devices.*Erick Schonfeld happens to think that's a very strange place to put away a potentially large interest for the iTunes Store business, offering a number of reasons why it may be the case (If You Want To Find Books In iTunes, Look In The App Store - TechCrunch).

Keynote '11 is due to be released along with the rest of the iWork suite very shortly, and according to the latest email reply from Steve Jobs, it will likely include the capability to wirelessly display a presentation (presumably using the AirPlay protocol) to an Apple TV. Sender Jared asks about the possibility, to which Jobs replied “It's all coming soon. Stay tuned.” (Steve-mail says Keynote '11 to have AirPlay, Apple TV capabilities - TUAW).

Finally, here's a fantastic piece by Tim Wu which forms the fifth part of a series on men who “disproportionately influenced the shape of the American information industries in the 20th and 21st centuries”. He praises Steve Jobs and Apple for the work they've done: “It would be idiocy to deny the attractions of Apple's vision and the brilliance of its products. The model that Apple is following has a long track record of success in the media industries” but goes on to warn that “if history is any guide, massive integration poses long-term dangers, particularly once the golden age ends.” (The Great American Information Emperors:*Steve Jobs, a New Mogul With Old Methods - Slate).

This week's Apple executive is CEO Steve Jobs with Executive Creative Director Hiroki Asai, pictured here outside the iconic Fifth Avenue Apple Store in New York at the store's grand opening. Photo from Richard Aguilar on SmugMug.