Home Why There Was Never Going to Be Facebook Integration In iOS 5

Why There Was Never Going to Be Facebook Integration In iOS 5

There will be no deep Facebook integration with iOS 5 or the new iPhone 4S. The notion of Apple and Facebook teaming up for the release of the iPhone 4S has been secondary to most of the discussion surrounding the development of iOS 5. There are a variety of reasons that these rumors came up and why people believed them. None of them were believable. It would have been almost impossible for Apple to put Facebook’s Open Graph API into iOS without anybody noticing.

Yet, the rumors persisted. The final beta versions of iOS and the gold master were theoretically supposed to be released a few weeks ago. We now know that iOS 5 is coming October 12. What was the delay? Maybe to keep from people knowing the last minute features Apple instituted. Facebook could have been a part of that. There is still no Facebook iPad app and the Open Graph is not baked into iOS and the two companies are not teaming up on HTML5 development. Take a look at why after the jump.

A History of Bad Blood

It is not like Facebook and Apple have had friendly relations in the past. When Apple released Ping, its social music sharing service for iTunes, there was supposed to be some type of Facebook integration. The relationship disintegrated at the last minute, mostly because of Facebook’s data policies.

The first bricks to Facebook’s new music sharing service through Spotify and other music services were probably set in Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s mind at that time. Ping has basically died without Facebook support.

Twitter was the initial Ping partner. Yet, Twitter was probably not mature enough or on the public conscious like it is a year later for Ping to really make a difference on the platform. Looking back though, Twitter and Ping may have been the first bricks of the deep Twitter integration into iOS 5 that was announced in June.

On Web Apps and HTML5

If anybody thought that Facebook would release its so-called Project Spartan on the world during Apple’s event, you were mistaken. There is no way that Facebook Apple would allow something as potentially disruptive as Facebook’s HTML5 Web app project make headway into its biggest announcement of the year.

Facebook Web apps will be all about sharing. That Facebook is good at. It is the company’s backbone. Facebook could help Apple with app discovery but that is a problem that Apple can tackle on its own.

Facebook may have an announcement about his new mobile initiatives later this week or next. Maybe they will not. The fact of the matter though is that Facebook’s new Web app project is going to be slow going at first. People know about the Apple App Store and the Android Market. Native apps are popular and they will stay that way for the foreseeable future. Even in the next few years, as HTML5 matures to create more powerful mobile application experiences, native will still be a major factor in the ecosystem.

The Door Is Not Closed But Apple Will Keep Facebook At Arm’s Length

At the press conference at f8, a reporter asked Facebook executives about whether or not there was iTunes service coming to Facebook Music. The question was phrased something like “there seems to be a large company missing from your music sharing roster.”

Facebook at the time said that there were no plans for iTunes or Apple. Yet, like almost every answer that was given during that press session, the door was left open. It is a smart thing for Facebook to do, because it may one day need Apple to beat back Google.

The fact of the matter is that the major tech companies (outside of the close partnership that Facebook has with Microsoft) are keeping Facebook at arm’s length. The Open Graph API has become a monster that permeates the Web and social sharing has become synonymous with Facebook. The data that Facebook controls is coveted by Google and Apple and others and it gives Facebook real power going forward. If Apple let Facebook in free reign inside iOS 5, the way it has with Twitter, that could spell trouble for the data that Apple wants to control about its users.

Facebook’s new media sharing initiative is something that Apple would have liked to do itself. Ping is the proof. Now that Facebook is on its way to a robust media-sharing project, Apple has been left behind.

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