As Chris discussed during his extensive coverage of Apple’s WWDC segment, one of the bigger announcements from their session had to do with the integration of Twitter with iOS 5, the newest version of the iPhone operating system. To some, this particular marriage of the popular social media service and the mobile device that’s synonymous with mobile communications could very well change the way mobile applications are developed, especially for the iPhone environment.
Over at ReadAndWriteWeb, there’s a good breakdown of what the partnership could mean, and if the following idea is close to being accurate — “iOS apps will look like, feel like, read from and publish to Twitter like never before. And they’ll do that in many cases instead of using Facebook” — the idea of Twitter and Apple ruling the applications world may not be that far-fetched, regardless of how popular the Android environment is.
Apparently, the Twitter integration introduces features to iOS 5 that will be similar to Facebook’s mobile capabilities. In fact, as pointed out in the RWW post, thanks to the partnership with the iPhone, Twitter essentially beat Facebook to the punch of making “everything social.” Granted, Facebook is still one of the more popular applications for the iPhone, laying the groundwork for a potential conflict. It’s doubtful Facebook’s developers would want to integrate Twitter features when both services are competing for social media supremacy.
The Twitter/iOS 5 integration gives Twitter an advantage, especially in the iPhone environment. Would Facebook want to assist in the process of lessening its own impact in the mobile device arena?
For those who are wondering about how the Twitter layer in iOS 5 would work, Jason Costa, the head of Twitter Developer Relations, posted a primer at the Google Groups community for Twitter Development Talk. Costa’s post sheds some light on the partnership and what iPhone app users can expect going forward:
There is single sign-on, which allows you to retrieve a user’s identity, avatar, and other profile data. There’s also a frictionless core signing service, allowing you to make and sign any call to the Twitter API. There is follow graph synchronization, which enables you to bootstrap a user’s social graph for your app. Furthermore, there is the tweet sheet feature, giving your app distribution and reach across Twitter.
The last point is important because it basically says applications will feature a “post to Twitter” feature, letting your followers know what you’re doing, and, considering how important location data is treated, where you are doing it.
The RWW post discusses a potential “Twitter versus Facebook” scenario, mentioning that while it was Facebook doing all the talking about social integration in the mobile device industry, Twitter actually formed the partnership necessary to reach that goal. Considering just how frequently iPhone owners download and use applications, it’s easy to see why Twitter is receiving such a rosy outlook:
Of course, there’s the the fact that Facebook is still an incredibly popular application, especially for the iPhone. Could that reduce the impact of the Twitter/iOS 5 partnership, especially if Facebook resists adding Twitter features?