Mike Isaac

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Apple Gets Serious About Social: Facebook Sharing All Over iOS and iTunes Updates

Apple announced a slew of social updates to its products at the iPhone 5 event in San Francisco on Wednesday, incorporating Facebook sharing features into multiple parts of the Apple ecosystem.

For one, Apple’s Siri digital assistant will be integrated with Facebook in iOS 6. That means that users can post status updates to their Facebook pages by merely speaking to their iPhone.

To boot, Facebook “Likes” will now be seen in the App Store inside of iTunes, which has also been completely redesigned.

And, of course, there’s the slew of other Facebook integration updates that Apple previously announced at WWDC in July, sticking Facebook neatly inside of apps like Calendar, Contacts, direct photo sharing and integration within the iOS notification bar. There’s also sharing built into Mountain Lion for the Mac products, so it’s not just on mobile.

In other words, Apple is finally starting to amend its serious deficiencies in social.

For one thing, each and every time a user “Likes” an app inside of the App Store, that will trace back to a user’s Facebook page, which means any and all of their friends can follow that thread back to Apple’s site. That’s huge potential for a new avenue of app downloads for Apple.

It’s also a boon for App Developers, who now don’t have to rely solely on the front door of iTunes for app discovery, which has always been the kingmaker of apps. Prominent iTunes real estate is valuable, as it’s seen by the millions of people who visit the service daily. But it’s scarce, which means there’s only so much room to promote apps — and the hundreds of thousands of other applications are left out in the cold.

That’s good for Apple, but what is Facebook getting out of the deal?

My guess is Facebook will continue to push app developers to create Open Graph integrated apps, which work better with Facebook and produce higher quality content for the stream. The additional likes inside of iTunes could increase that awareness.

The bigger win for Facebook, however, seems to be the Siri integration. Imagine the deluge of new status updates and content for the stream that Facebook will be fed from users (that is, if Siri use is strong). More content potentially means more engagement, and that, of course, means more Facebook ads served.

Of course, there’s a quality control issue — hopefully Siri will be able to deliver cogent, translatable status updates, and fewer “Damn you, auto-correct!” moments.

In all, it seems good for both companies that they’ve finally found agreeable terms to work with one another.

And for Apple, it’s about time.


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