Rumor has it Apple could be increasing their Facebook integration for iPhone OS 4, perhaps to include contact sync and messaging support for end users and Facebook Connect for developers.

Apple's relationship with social networks has been tentative at best, with Mac OS X 10.6 and iPhoto 09 offering rudimentary integration for things like photo tags. The Facebook app on the iPhone has done some contact syncing (initially with funny to off-putting results), but nothing thus far as hinted at Palm webOS or Microsoft Kin level integration.

Business Insider cites only a "source", and coming as it does with Facebook once again in the eye of the user-privacy storm, it's sure to be met with mixed reaction. Here's why it might just happen:

Some 34.2 million people were "active users" of the Facebook iPhone app in the last month, according to Facebook. That's about a little more than a third of all the iPhone OS devices -- iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad -- out there. And it's almost 10% of Facebook's 400 million users.

It's one of the rare instances where Apple is way behind the consumer curve. They don't "get" social media (perhaps their hyper-secretive corporate culture doesn't allow them to) but they're slowly and painfully realizing that if they don't do something, they lose an element of user tie-in, and Apple certainly "gets" user tie-in.

[Business Insider]