It's official. Apple will terminate their Ping service on September 30th. And it appears that the "www.apple.com/itunes/ping" URL has been removed by the Cupertino firm as well. Attempts to access the link are now redirected back to the main iTunes page.
According to Huffington Post, however, the Ping tab is still available on the iTunes application itself, but clicking on the tab would simply lead users to a screen with a message on Ping's discontinuation.
Launched in 2010, Ping is essentially Apple's music-based social network application integrated with iTunes. The upcoming version of iTunes, due to arrive in October, will not feature Ping in its portfolio.
In Tech 2's report, Tim Cook (Apple's reigning CEO) allegedly made this remark to the media: "We tried Ping, and I think the customer voted and said 'this isn't something that I want to put a lot of energy into'."
In addition, the report also suggested that Ping's dissolution was conveyed as a low-key announcement during Apple's iPhone and iPod event yesterday. According to All Things D, Facebook's decision to block API access to Ping is likely to be the main catalyst for Apple's decision to retire the service.
Ping never really caught on with music listeners, and ironically, it will be replaced with deeper Facebook integration on the new iTunes 11. In other words, any "Likes" for an artist, song, or album made on iTunes will be visible on Facebook.