iPhone Joins the Social Platform Wars

Today marked the launch of the new iPhone application directory and iPhone users worldwide had the opportunity to start testing out the new applications. So far it appears that there is positive feedback and given the expected success of the iPhone 2.0 tomorrow, things are looking up for Apple. There are some unexpected competitors though as Caroline McCarthy points out: Facebook and MySpace.

I have said over and over again that the iPhone is inherently a social device and have suggested that the phone could transform social gaming. At this juncture, I think that could easily be an understatement. With the launch of multiple iPhone applications this morning, it is clear that MySpace and Facebook have distinct competitors: Loopt, Whrrl and of course Apple, just to name a few. Most of those competitors have also built in location based services and some have included instant communications with others in the network.

The other thing that’s important is that companies can immediately start charging for applications, something that no developers have been able to do on social platforms. While that may soon change with the launch of Facebook’s payment platform, Apple has just catapulted themselves to become one of the potential front-runners in the social platform wars.

While the iPhone still has less users than Facebook or MySpace, that could rapidly change. With Apple ready to launch in a number of countries, the company has a great opportunity to reach their iPod user base which is already larger than Facebook and close to the size of MySpace. In the wars of the social platforms (just as with any other platforms), the battles are fought for developers and clearly the current opportunity presented by the iPhone will attract plenty of developers.

Whether or not competing social network offerings will be able to pull away the users from sites like Facebook and MySpace, the initial battles are simply for developers and that’s all that matters. In the coming weeks we may begin to hear of similar success stories to those experienced by the initial Facebook application developers.

As the success stories roll in, the developers will follow suit and jump on the latest platform craze. Facebook better be able to pull something out of their hat at the upcoming f8 event in San Francisco. With the clamping down on privacy violations, developers are getting nervous and there was never a better time to try out the latest hot thing. If Facebook doesn’t pull out something big at f8, there is a chance for yet another monumental shift of development resources.

Do you think Facebook, MySpace and other social platform developers will soon jump ship?