Apple’s Ping social music network wasn’t mentioned at the company’s iPhone 5 launch last night, and now we know why.

People trying to register for the service now see this message: “Ping will no longer be available as of September 30… We are no longer accepting new members”. Hardly a surprise, given that the service was a resounding flop.

Last night’s launch made it clear that Facebook and Twitter will now provide the social backbone for iTunes – and indeed all Apple’s content services. The iTunes Store and applications have been redesigned to be cleaner and less cluttered, with Facebook Likes built in.

Concert listings are also being pulled into iTunes artist pages, although the provider wasn’t announced during the event. The new iTunes desktop software won’t be available until late October though.

There were new iPods – an iPod nano with an FM tuner and an improved iPod touch – and of course the iPhone 5, which had been so thoroughly leaked before the event that it held few surprises.

A taller four-inch screen, more powerful processor, LTE wireless connectivity and a smaller ‘Lightning’ dock connector were the key new features. And Apple has redesigned its signature earphones, rebranding them as ‘EarPods’ in the process.

“Music is deeply embedded in our DNA,” said CEO Tim Cook. “We do love music…” But if anything, the event hammered home the message that music remains marginal to Apple in the era of apps, where the iPod touch is positioned more as a gaming than a music device.

And yes, there was no Pandora-style personal radio announcement as had been rumoured.

EarPods and phone

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