Apple is building Facebook features into the latest version of its iPhone software, we’re told by a plugged-in source in the mobile industry. These features could be announced during Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference keynote on June 7, when Apple is expected to unveil a new iPhone.
Our source tells us that Apple is at least going to build Facebook contact syncing directly into the iPhone software, so you can pull Facebook contacts into your iPhone’s phonebook. This is a no-brainer, and is already a feature that some of Apple’s competition offers, so it makes sense to include on the iPhone.
Not long ago, Facebook built a feature for its app that syncs your contacts’ Facebook photos with your iPhone, so you can see their Facebook profile picture when they’re calling. Perhaps Apple’s new hooks into Facebook will make this sync process part of the phone’s operating system and not just a feature of the Facebook app.
We also hear that Apple could be integrating Facebook Connect directly into its software developers kit so programmers can more easily add Facebook “social” features to their apps. But we don’t have details on how that might work.
We also anticipate — but don’t know — that Apple may build some sort of Facebook messaging features into the iPhone. Perhaps you’ll be able to send Facebook messages to contacts just as easily as text messages. This wouldn’t cost any money — it wouldn’t use up your text message allotment — and could be just as instantaneous. But again, this part is pure speculation.
Facebook is one of the most popular iPhone apps in the world — if not the single most popular app — so it makes sense for Facebook and Apple to work more closely together.
Some 34.2 million people were “active users” of the Facebook iPhone app in the last month, according to Facebook. That’s about a little more than a third of all the iPhone OS devices — iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad — out there. And it’s almost 10% of Facebook’s 400 million users.
The companies have already worked together on features for Apple’s iPhoto app. And Apple’s iTunes has been a long-time marketer on Facebook.
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