2:53PM June 7 2011
Last night at WWDC Apple announced something that had been rumored for the last few weeks, deep integration of Twitter into iOS 5. This is huge for the social network and for Apple as it provides all consumers with iOS devices a default social network.
“The implications are vast. Twitter will essentially become the default social network for iOS users. It’s as if Apple reached down in a God-like fashion, grabbed Twitter with its almighty hand and lifted it up to the social networking heavens.” – Jennifer Van Grove, Mashable
Where is Facebook?
Facebook may well be the go to network for a lot of people but clearly Apple have seen something in their chief rivals. We can also assume that their public school yard shoving match with Apple over Ping and some unsavory comments from Zuck will have attributed to them not being built into iOS in a similar way. However I think all agree that this is coming and I would not be surprised to see other networks built in this way in future builds. I was for example surprised there was no Flickr button in the camera or photo app considering how they dedicated a few minutes in the presentation to talking about their near dominance of that network. Also Foursquare and Instagram are clearly internally highly thought of with their apps being present on a number of slides.
“Available in the fall, Twitter for iOS 5 will use Twitter Auth (it’s still not clear whether its O or X) to allow you to tweet from your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch with one signin. The Twitter integration will also play nice with your iPhone Contacts to fill in your friends names when you’re DMing or @replying and it will use your phone’s GPS to apply location to Tweets”. – Alexia Tsotsis, TechCrunch
Apple most likely see a little bit of themselves in Twitter. It is a clean and elegant service that provides something that no other network can quite touch or understand. It’s implementation in iOS 5 is also very elegant and done in the simple yet effective way that Apple have become known for since the return of Steve. Perhaps Facebook is the Microsoft of social networks and Twitter the Apple?
“The Twitter integration is extremely polished. You plug your username and password into the settings menu, and if you don’t happen to have the app, you can install it right from there.” – Sam Sheffer, ThisIsMyNext
More than just Apps
It also shows an acknowledgement from Apple that the “applification” of everything on mobile is not necessarily the best way forward. Unlocking your phone, opening the app, finding what you want to upload etc is not a consumer friendly experience. Microsoft’s mobile OS, Windows Phone 7, is much more user friendly with services being built into the core of the product. This is Apple’s first step at integrating a widely used service in a way that is simple and intuitive. We also saw them acknowledge this with other areas like notifications and simpler and faster camera functions.
Will we see a rise in the number of Twitter users due to this? To an extent I would think so and it certainly makes the network much more front and centre when it comes to thinking around it’s uses. However Apple have yet again been very clever with their timing. I have always stated that the best thing to do to note the rise of new technology is to look at your friends outside of the tech and marketing bubble. Are they using it? Do they still talk about how they don’t like or understand it? In the last three months I have watched a number of friends join Twitter, ones who were previously very vocal against it, and they have completely embraced it. This is a trend that is similar across the globe with more people being interested in the network right now. Apple have integrated it at just the right time and in a way that will take the interest of a lot of people.
This is a match made in technology heaven, how everyone else will react is yet to be seen. It is certainly going to be fun to watch and enjoy the developments as they happen.
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Sam Hilary – @samhilary