Although developers and engineers from the micro-blogging service Twitter will be present at Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference this month, it looks as though it will be the social networking behemoth Facebook that will ultimately steal the conference’s limelight. After a long period of uncertainty, it seems as if the integration of Facebook into Apple’s next major release of iOS will be made official at WWDC, reports TechCrunch.
If Tim Cook and his team do ultimately end up making the announcement this month, it won’t exactly go down in history as one of the best kept secrets, with Cook and Apple pretty much giving the game away in the last ten days or so with teasing statements made during the D10 conference as well as Apple choosing to make a song and dance about Facebook’s new iOS apps that have recently landed in the App Store. Apple’s CEO has never really made a secret about his admiration for the way Facebook has grown as a company and once again chose not to hide his respect for Mark Zuckerberg’s empire by stating during his recent attendance at the D10 event that "Facebook is a great company and the relationship is solid".
If things go as we expect during the WWDC event in San Francisco, it could be exciting news not only for Facebook but also for Apple. After all, Facebook has over 900 million registered members, most of which are regularly active on the social network. The sharing partnership will also be extremely positive news for current iOS users who currently have to undergo a pretty unfriendly user-experience to use applications that have Facebook integration, as well as developers who will no doubt welcome the addition of an official iOS framework in a similar vein to what iOS brought with Twitter. Being able to natively access Facebook’s services without jumping through all of the hoops can only be a good thing for users and app creators.
Until we see an official announcement on the situation from either Apple or Facebook, it is pretty much impossible to predict just how deeply Facebook will be integrated into iOS 6. It is likely that users will benefit from the ability to share information from native apps to their Facebook Wall, but beyond that it is difficult to predict. On the subject of iOS 6, or iOS Sundance as Apple are calling it internally, it seems likely that the we will also see a some design changes surrounding the iTunes, App and iBooks stores, reports 9to5Mac. We heard some rumblings a couple of months back about some planned changes to the aesthetics of the App Store, something that looks like it could appear with the next iOS release.
Those who follow the fruit company carefully may remember that Apple acquired Chomp in February of this year, a company that was dedicated to developing an app search and discovery platform. It was thought at the time that the acquisition had been made to allow Apple to introduce Chomp’s technologies into their own iOS software, enabling users to interact in a more positive fashion with the App Store. While that is still likely to be the case, it would seem that time has caught up with Apple and the App Store overhaul as part of iOS 6 will not feature that technology.
On a personal level, as both an avid iOS user and active developer, the integration of Facebook into a future revision of the OS is definitely more than welcome. The inclusion of the Twitter framework in iOS 5 made working with the service so much easier, and I can only imagine that the same benefits will be experienced should the Facebook rumors turn out to be reality. The benefits to users would also be immediately noticeable with the removal of the awful single sign-on authentication process that exists at the minute. As always, stay tuned and we shall endeavor to bring more information as it becomes available.