Apple friending FaceBook for iPhone OS 4?

steve-jobs-facebook

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]

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, The TV Show, Vector, ZEN & TECH, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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There are 19 comments. Add yours.

SOV says:

I hope they don't integrate too much, facebook's privacy policy will change and they'll be able to steal phone numbers out of our address book lol

jonar1us says:

I agree...the app doesn't enough for me. Unless they find away to WOW us

USAFRetired says:

This is the last thing I want--Facebook to have access (or sync) with any of my personal contacts on the iphone. Facebook has serious issues with privacy and I would hope that Apple doesn't put its users at risk.

Nate says:

If I am not mistaken Facebook can already sync with your contacts giving you the person's profile picture, and a link to their profile.

Silentsoul says:

I don't not want auto integration just like FBs shady "auto personalization" I can add photos to my contacts manually. I'm not that lazy that I need FB to do everything for me. The more we let them do for us the more they take from us.

Nate says:

I personally like it. It gives me an easy option to get photos for most of my contacts and when I am looking up other information I can easily access their website this way.

fastlane says:

It depends on what exactly Apple does with it. The Facebook sync with iPhone Contacts now is a total catastrophe.

NEO2126 says:

Am I the only one who uses Myspace?

jasonact says:

@freddy kruger
Yes, you are.
I'm not sure that I buy this. As we all know, Apple is notorious for tying things down to their way of doing business. They hold up the "complete user experience" as being most important, even to a fault. With the questionable way that Facebook handles privacy, I can't see Apple wanting to tie themselves into Facebook until Facebook addresses those problems. Otherwise, it could leave Apple open to liability. That's not something Apple would take on, IMO.

(Copy of) Dev says:

Ugh. No, no, a thousand times no. Facebook is the one company whose privacy policies make Google look like Thoreau on the pond.
From http://www.digitaljournal.com/blog/6766

  • Facebook’s Privacy Policy is longer than the United States Constitution
  • To manage your privacy on Facebook, you will need to navigate through 50 settings with more than 170 options.

Add to that the fact that Facebook turns on features with the least privacy, and forces you to opt out, not to mention Zuckerberg's history of screwing over friends, partners, and users, see http://tinyurl.com/36m6yfr
and http://bit.ly/bmRip3 ), and you have the closest recipe for evil in a tech company we have seen to date.
Keep that off my iPhone, please.

Björn says:

I'm against this move. I feel like I'll have to go into my privacy settings and research. Then manually uncheck the option that Facebook has pre-selected to extract my: home address, GSP location, SSN & maybe even my 1999 SAT scores!

Björn says:

And freddy, get off MySpace.

zero credability says:

i've just disabled my facebook account .. would be uncomfortable about facebook having access when I look at how my privacy settings are chosen for me !!!

rgar3388 says:

just don't put the facebook account into your phone, it's that simple

rgar3388 says:

i personally think it would be sweet, everything up to date without me having to do anything and i can go on with my busy life.

Maniacfive says:

Figures, just as facebook begins upsetting people with their ridiculous privacy policy, this happens. Well, if its a another default app that cant be deleted, Into the Junk Folder it goes!

Intoxicateme says:

Myspace entire design is better than that ugly arse fb. But hey these r apple freaks here they can't even customize their phones so more than likely they don't like the idea of cusyomizing their blah fb pages

Glenn#IM says:

Not sure about this move by Apple. FB has serious problems. Too many security holes. For a test, make a fake account. Delete it. If you search the name two years later, it will be there with no activity, but your profile never goes away. FB really needs changes. There are virus problems also by hackers on FB. You may not get the virus on the iPhone, but I think it can be a carrier, and pass it to your computer via USB sync. I may be wrong. On the good side, may be Apple can cause proper changes in FB.

kcnightfang says:

Three letters and two punctuation marks: 3.3.1
Since Apple is so concerned about being screwed by depending on third parties I'm going to go with a "might put it there but in a totally non-essential way". I don't really think Apple will trust Facebook enough to not screw them over with changes or privacy nonsense. Think about it this way as well, if Apple feels the need to have social networking, and ties itself to Facebook on the OS level then Facebook is the one in the top negotiating position, even to the level of dictating OS design and maybe even carrier relationships. Not saying they would, but they would potentially be powerful enough that they could,
Just my 3.3.1 cents.