Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL ) and Facebook (Nasdaq: FB ) have always had plenty of ties. Well, it now seems that the two are ready to make the plunge and take their relationship to the next level.
According to a recent TechCrunch report, Facebook is about to be integrated directly into iOS 6 in much the same way that Twitter was integrated into iOS 5 last year. It's hardly surprising, considering that at the All Things Digital D10 conference last week CEO Tim Cook specifically said, "Stay tuned," when asked about the pair's relationship.
An OS-level integration would be a big win for both companies. Apple gets to improve the social functionalities of its devices, something that iTunes Ping failed spectacularly at. This is also a key area where mobile rival Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT ) has some advantages, as Windows Phone has various layers of social integration already baked in.
It would also vastly improve the experience of countless apps, many of which tie into Facebook for authentication and sign-ons. Integrating Facebook would make that process more seamless.
That also lays the foundation for the possibility that Apple would integrate Facebook directly into its desktop operating system, OS X. The next major iteration, Mountain Lion, is due out this summer and will feature Twitter integration, so it seems only a matter of time before Facebook gets similar treatment.
One social service that is likely never to get any favors from Apple is Google's (Nasdaq: GOOG ) own social network, Google+. That duo's relationship continues to become increasingly hostile, as they battle for mobile market share and all signs suggest that Apple is slowly reducing Google's role in iDevices, starting with the Maps app that might get the boot in iOS 6 in favor of an in-house offering that Apple has been working on for years.
We won't have to wait long to find out, as Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference, or WWDC, kicks off next week, and there should be plenty of surprises waiting for us.
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