While Apple (s aapl) has already welcomed Twitter into iOS , the biggest social network of them all has not been integrated into Apple’s mobile operating system. But it looks like that’s about to change. Apple is reportedly set to announce Facebook (s fb) integration for iOS 6, said MG Siegler, writing for TechCrunch.
Quoting sources, Siegler said the two sides are close to striking a formal relationship that would allow Facebook to be baked into the latest version of iOS, code-named Sundance. The integration would allow iOS users to easily share from different apps right into Facebook without having to go through a clunky sign-in process. That will help drive more engagement for Facebook and keep pace with Twitter, which was integrated into iOS 5 a year ago. The partnership could get announced next week at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco.
Apple was close to integrating Facebook into iOS a couple years ago, but the relationship seemed to fray over questions about how Facebook would work alongside Ping, Apple’s music social network. But Apple has been warming to Facebook more recently. CEO Tim Cook praised the social network at the D10 conference and gave an encouraging “stay tuned,” to questions about a possible partnership between the two companies. There were signs that Facebook was going to get integrated into iOS 5 last fall and some code references to Facebook integration appeared again in January.
We’ll have to see if the news proves true. There’s of course still time for such a deal to go awry. But it makes sense for Apple to put aside any differences it has with Facebook. Twitter gives Apple a great sharing option but Facebook is still the biggest kid on the block. And for Facebook, this is a good win, ensuring that it can expand social sharing on a key mobile platform. I wonder if this means that Facebook isn’t in a rush to build its own smartphone. Apple might not have been so eager to welcome Facebook if it believed that Facebook was about to turn around and launch its own competing hardware. But who knows, a Facebook phone may still be in the works and Apple doesn’t care.