The simmering chemistry between Apple and Facebook just seems to be getting stronger and stronger. Back in February, Apple CEO Tim Cook called Facebook a company “closest to being like Apple”. Facebook’s new camera app was given massive publicity on the Apple App Store just last week, not to mention the flattering comments Tim Cook showered on Facebook in the recent D10 conference. And it seems that these two technology giants are now on the verge of entering into a formal relationship. Various reports are claiming ntegration of Facebook in the latest version of iOS. Not very surprising because Facebook was integrated into an unreleased version of iOS 4, though it was replaced by Twitter integration in the final version.
This in no way implies an exit for Twitter. It will continue being a part of iOS, but integrating Facebook has become increasingly essential, since a lot of apps use Facebook for signing up and authentication. Apple is definitely aware of this new trend, and has kept it in mind while deciding to finally bring Facebook on board.
This will also benefit Facebook. Until now, it relied on quick app switching by tapping a connect icon in other apps. In order to authenticate, a tab would quickly app-switch to Facebook to validate permissions and then switch back. Other apps use the old pop-up technique. Thus, integration will definitely make the whole process much simpler and far more efficient, just like it has with Twitter’s integration.
Apple is obviously very finicky, and there is no telling what they will do in the next handful of days till the WWDC conference where iOS 6 is expected to be unveiled. But as of now, Facebook integration in the next iOS, nicknamed ‘Sundance’, is a yes. The one foreseeable complication is how sharing would work in this set up. A good sharing system is crucial, especially since a lot more permissions are required with Facebook, with various posting and visibility options. And to make it even more complicated, there is Open Graph.
Apple will probably keep the Facebook integration simple in the beginning, with just authentications and probably a Facebook button on its share screen that allows you to directly post or share something on your Facebook wall. It is doubtful Apple will play around much with Open Graph or auto sharing. This Facebook integration will not feature in the OS X Mountain Lion for now as Apple wants to take this one slow.