Earlier this week Apple CEO Tim Cook gave an interview during the opening session of AllThingsD’s D10 Conference. During that interview he said many interesting things. Among them was a brief discussion of Facebook and its relationship with Apple. While There had been rumors that iOS 4 would be getting OS-level Facebook integration, that deal fell through. Similarly, a deal to integrate Facebook with Ping, Apple’s home-built music-based social network, also fell through, prompting Steve Jobs to call Facebook “onerous.” During the interview at D10, however, Tim Cook hinted at Facebook integration for iOS 6. When asked why iOS 5 had included Twitter integration but not Facebook, Cook suggested that we “stay tuned on this one.”
Of course, Cook carefully avoided saying that iOS 6, which will probably be unveiled at WWDC 2012 later this month, will be getting Facebook, but his remarks strongly imply it. New information that has come to light this afternoon, though, suggests that we really will be seeing Facebook integrated into iOS 6. According to a report from TechCrunch, Apple and Facebook are “on the brink” of finalizing a deal to incorporate Facebook into iOS 6 in much the same way that Twitter was incorporated into iOS 5.
The only problem left, the report says, is just how Facebook integration will work. With Twitter the problem is much less complicated: you either tweet something, or you don’t. While Twitter does have privacy settings that allow you to block public access to your account, the process is little more complicated than flipping a switch – your account is either public, or it isn’t. Facebook’s settings are somewhat more nuanced and complex, allowing you to decide who can see a post as you post it. Working that level of control into iOS 6 is bound to be more difficult than just a “Post to Facebook” button.
Of course, assuming TechCrunch has it right and the two are close to finalizing a deal, things could still go south. Given the success of Twitter integration, though, both companies have every incentive to make this work, so it’s a fair bet that when Apple makes it’s iOS 6 announcement at WWDC 2012 on June 11, Facebook will be a big part of it.