Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) has never been much of a social butterfly.

One of the Mac maker's few in-house social offerings over the years, iTunes Ping, has fallen flat. There's really no way to sugarcoat this one: Ping was a massive failure. Amid all the hype of social media and networking, you can hardly blame Apple for trying to get in on the social action with a music-based service that taps into its massive user base, but this time it didn't work out quite so well for Cupertino.

Overview

Source: Apple.

At All Things D's D10 conference recently, CEO Tim Cook owned up to the mistake, hinting that Ping's days were numbered, nearly two years after its launch in September 2010. All Things D is now reporting that Apple is in fact planning on axing the flailing service in the next major release of iTunes, probably this fall.

Meanwhile, Cupertino just announced its partnership with Facebook (Nasdaq: FB), integrating the dominant networker directly into iOS 6. This is just the beginning of what's likely to be a long and fruitful relationship between the two. Apple obviously needs to get involved in social networking, but it doesn't need to do all the legwork by itself.

Cook again echoed this sentiment at D10, when asked whether Apple had any plans of erecting a social network in response to Google's (Nasdaq: GOOG) response to Facebook: Google+. Much like how Apple has no intention to enter the search business, leaving it to the pros, Apple can just partner with the best in breed in those areas to bolster the functionalities of its iDevices.

That's why Apple has now included both Facebook and Twitter in its stable of partners, and Twitter is even getting direct integration into OS X Mountain Lion next month as well. Don't be surprised as those social services continue to see higher levels of integrations throughout Apple's lineup, maybe even tied directly into iTunes soon enough.

Apple's in-house offerings are about to get less social, but its products are about to get more social thanks to some key partnerships.

Farewell, Ping. We hardly knew ye. But that was the problem in the first place.

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