Steve Jobs has just demonstrated iTunes 10 to a packed crowd at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco.

iTunes features a new social networking feature called Ping. "it's a bit like Twitter or FaceBook" said Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO. You can follow people and create custom charts based upon the people you follow in iTunes. People can choose between allowing anybody to follow them, or controlling who follows them.

"The privacy is super simple to setup" said Steve Jobs "anybody can do it". Perhaps this is a subtle dig at FaceBook, which has faced considerable criticism over privacy. Despite entering a already crowded market, Apple has a key advantage in integrating Ping with iTunes. "It's open to over 160 million iTunes users immediately" said Steve.

Apple iTunes Store

Ping is also going to be available on the iPod touch and iPhone. "It's a social network for music created by Apple and built into iTunes" said Steve.

Steve Jobs told the crowd: People are always asking us "what are my friends listening to" and "what are my favourite artists up to". He then demonstrated posts and videos from Lady Gaga. According to Apple, Ping lets you follow your favourite artists to see what they’re up to, check out photos and videos they’ve posted, see their tour dates and read comments about other artists and albums they’re listening to.

You can also create a profile on iTunes to let your friends know who you’re following, what you’re listening to and which concerts you’re going to.

iTunes 10 also has a new logo: "We decided that since iTunes is about to overtake CD sales in the US, we thought it's time to ditch the CD from the logo."

iTunes 10 also features AirPlay wireless music playback to listen to your music on remote speakers using Apple’s AirPort Express base station. In addition, AirPlay now works without AirPort Express, using speakers, receivers and stereo systems from companies including Bowers & Wilkins, JBL, Denon and iHome. Apple notes you can enjoy your entire iTunes music library wirelessly from any room in the house with no extra gear required.  

iTunes 10 is available today.