Twitter's iOS 5 win may suggest its victory over Facebook in their competition to reign over social networks.
When Apple announced its partnership with Twitter and the plan to deeply integrate the social network into iOS 5 coming this fall, the absence of Facebook's integration forecast an unpromising future for the current social media king.
The social layer of iOS will be dominated by Twitter when Apple device users will have access to Twitter by default. By making Twitter the default in apps such as Camera, Photos, Safari and YouTube, Apple has dictated where millions of pieces of content will invariably flow, CNN said. The addition of native photo and video sharing would allow Twitter to keep users on its site longer, catching up to Facebook's topping any other property on the Web in the amount of time users spend on the site.
We hear from a lot of our customers on iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch that they love Twitter, so we want to make it even easier for all of our customers to use Twitter on iOS products, said Apple's senior vice president Scott Forstall during WWDC 2011 keynote.
While Twitter emphasizes its uniqueness as a real-time information network, the threat it throws at the social media monopolist Facebook is undeniable. Entering June, Twitter announced the launch of native photo and video sharing services, while Facebook announced its test of a twitter-like feature called Happening Now, which displays current status updates, likes and other activities from friends in real-time. Twitter and Facebook are undoubtedly becoming similar.
Twitter's residence in iOS 5 indicates that over 200 million Apple users will be posting photos, videos and links to Twitter with a single tap on their iPhones, iPads and iPod Touch.
While it's a great advantage for Twitter to be the first bride of iOS 5 among social networks, why would Apple overlook the 500 million plus users of the current social networking king Facebook? Average internet users spent 12.3% of their time on Facebook in 2010, according to ComScore. Furthermore, Facebook is integrated by around 10,000 websites every single day, and over 250 million people engage with Facebook on external Web site, according to Facebook.
Would Facebook integration be a bad move for Apple? If so, why?
According to Betanews reporter Joe Wilcox, Apple and Facebook have several conflicting strategic objectives, and their platforms are juxtaposed. While Apple desires to push users' content to the device, Facebook tries to pull content to the cloud. And once Apple embarks on iCloud, the competition will be even harsher, for iCloud is not an online storage service but a synchronization service that encourages Apple users to manage their content on iOS and Mac OS X devices. Moreover, the means by which Apple and Facebook create user-generated contents are different and incompatible. While Facebook seeks to have contents locked through social networking, Apple allows the contents to flow freely, so users can synchronize easily.
Another suggested factor is from when Apple unveiled Ping, a social music discovery service, Facebook's Connect feature was pulled out at the last minute due to some disagreement between Facebook and Apple. According to Steve Jobs, Facebook wanted onerous terms that we could not agree to. From Facebook's side, a statement was issued that said, Facebook believes in connecting people with their interests and we've partnered with innovative developers around the world who share this vision. Facebook and Apple have cooperated successfully in the past to offer people great social experiences and look forward to doing so in the future. While the possibility of Facebook-Ping integration remained open, it has not been realized.
So far, Apple and Facebook remain silent in commenting on their relationship.
There is some time left for Facebook to mend its relationship with Apple and benefit from Apple's new mobile operating system. While Apple seems to have a clear priority in maximizing the customer experience on its devices, can Facebook live on without Apple's embrace? Or will Microsoft's adaptation of Facebook into its Windows Phone 7 nullify the need to enter the Apple farm? Or perhaps, the two are still testing to see how to best integrate Facebook into iOS. If so, then Twitter cannot sing of its victory just yet.