With an iPhone 5 around, friend-finding is going to be a lot easier. At least it's going to be a lot less hard than arduously adding friends on Facebook and getting disillusioned over lack of compatibility.

According to the rumor mill, the iPhone 5 is going to become your portable social network. The phone analyses your habits, tastes, lifestyle, aptitudes, travels and the like and finds people who share the same bandwidth. And then it tells you if a potential friend is in the vicinity. Conversely it allows you to be found and befriended by other iPhone 5 users.

It is reported tat iPhone's location-based services will be fine tuned to transform the device as the centrepiece of a social network Apple is possibly going to build as it focuses more on services outside of hardware.

The location-based features will find out users in a specific area who share similar interests in music, travel, books etc. and then help link them all up.

The new round of iPhone 5 feature speculation was triggered by the surfacing of information about an Apple patent application. The reports say Apple has filed patent application for an ad hoc networking based on content and location. The process, hailed as revolutionary move, will allow iPhone 5 users to automatically link up with people who have shared likes, but who are total strangers otherwise.

The novelty of the new model of social networking is that unlike in Twitter and Facebook, people don't need to know each other to become friends.

The new patent application outline suggests that Apple may be looking to set up a network similar to the photo-sharing network Color, it has been reported.

Apple points out that creating a group of friends on a social network is an arduous, time-consuming process which can often return disappointing results. That's why the tech giant is trying to build a model that could become easier for users than the Facebook model.

For Apple's proposed social network to constructed around the iPhone 5, the users will have to agree to share data on their devices. With permission, Apple will share iTunes purchases like music and books, as well as locations a person has visited, says Mobiledia.com.

HOW IT WORKS

This is how Apple explains the proposes system will identify people with shared interests:

“Common interests and experiences of two or more users located close to each other can be identified from content, including automatically created usage data of the mobile devices. Usage data of a mobile device can be created based on activities performed on the mobile device (e.g., songs downloaded), a trajectory of the mobile device (e.g., places traveled), or other public data available from the mobile device (e.g., pictures shared).”

And, will there be facial recognition feature? Yes there is talk of facial recognition being part of the package. But it will be optional, like many other features.

SPITING FACEBOOK?

Apple's latest project could be an answer to Facebook, with which CEO Steve Jobs tried to do business but was disappointed. It had been reported earlier that Apple was in talks with the social networking giant over launching Facebook-integrated features like its popular like button. However, a deal could not be reached as Facebook's demands were apparently tough. Steve Jobs had reportedly said Facebook wanted onerous terms that Apple could not agree to.

Apple had entered into the social networking sphere earlier, albeit in a smaller scale. According to the report, it had launched music-oriented social network iTunes Ping, which had features of Facebook and Twitter rolled into one. It allowed users to follow both music artists and friends and receive their status updates in a news feed.

More recently, Apple announced at the WWDC that the iOS 5, the updated version of the mobile communication system to be unveiled in July will have Twitter integration. This means users of iOS 5-enabled devices like iPhone 5, iPad 2 and iPod touch will be able to tweet photos as well as articles from Safari.