Until the launch of Ping, the music social network feature in iTunes, last fall, Apple looked like it was getting close with Facebook. After yesterday, though, the two companies have never looked more distant. Facebook is not getting any special integration with Apple, and the two companies do not appear to be working together on Credits — contrary to a recent statement by a gaming executive from Ubisoft.
A relationship had at one point seemed natural. Facebook wanted to counter the threat of Google social products, while Apple was aiming to differentiate itself from the Android mobile operating system. Facebook for iPhone, the best-in-class mobile social networking app that has dominated the iTunes App Store for years, seemed to prove that millions of people wanted the two companies together.
Instead it has been Facebook’s microblogging rival, Twitter, that has gotten the special attention, as Apple reinforced yesterday at Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference in San Francisco. Twitter is being built directly into iOS 5, the new version of the mobile operating system coming this fall. Users will be able to tweet directly from in-house apps including Camera, Photos, Contacts, the Safari web browser, as well as (Google-derived) Maps and YouTube. Meanwhile, Twitter API access in iOS 5 will make it easier than ever for mobile app developers to integrate it as a single sign-on option.
The only time Apple speakers referenced Facebook yesterday was an off-hand mention of its iPhone app as one of a variety of apps that you could get notifications for in the new Notifications Center.