Facebook SDK for iOS Now On Par with Android

Facebook today matured its SDK for Apple iOS, adding authentication support for OAuth 2.0 and an updated API for Facebook’s social graph to make it easier for developers to read or write data to Facebook. These updated features are available for programmers who build third-party applications for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad, allowing the apps to offer a social component, such as posting high scores on a Facebook wall or playing head-to-head with Facebook friends.

Earlier today, I spoke about the SDK updates with Luke Shepard, an engineer with the Facebook Platform team, who expressed optimism that many developers will integrate Facebook with mobile applications. The most compelling example of adding social components to apps so far is in the gaming area, but Shepard pointed out how news and information applications are beginning to benefit from Facebook as well. Indeed, Flipboard for the iPad is a recent example of news consumption through social networking while the recent Vonage for Facebook app connects friends through voice calls.

While the updated Facebook SDK for iOS doesn’t offer groundbreaking new features to third-party developers, it does bring parity to Facebook’s SDK for Android, which launched in beta this past May. Since U.S. Android device sales passed those of iOS earlier in the year — and also just jumped past BlackBerry handsets — I asked Shepard if platform market share numbers factor into Facebook’s mobile roadmap. “We don’t favor one platform over another,” Shepard said. “We want to help developers make applications social on all platforms.”

That statement causes me to wonder about the rumored link between Apple and Facebook for iTunes and iOS. It’s still possible that Apple will want to build social functionality more tightly into its products, and Facebook would be the natural partner for more core functions like recommendations of third-party apps based on friends’ behavior, for example.

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