The iPhone and “Social”

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The Twitter integration in iOS 5 is a good first step, but it’s not enough yet. The reason? Too many people don’t use Twitter. Every single one of my friends has a Facebook account, and almost all of them use it more than I do. On the other hand, only two of my friends have a Twitter. One has an IT degree, and the other is a software developer. My sample size is obviously limited, but the correlation is pretty strong. Facebook integration would be an absolutely crucial feature to attract the younger crowd that the iPod and iPhone booms have relied upon. Nearly every young person above age 10 has a Facebook account and uses it daily. Circumventing the clunky Facebook mobile app would kick the iPhone into another level of cool. Unfortunately, Facebook seems much more willing to compete with Apple than cooperate. First there was the failed Ping integration, and now Facebook seems to be taking on the App Store directly. They could do so much more together than apart.

The final solution to this problem would be services, like those OS X offers (but are barely used.) Chris Clark has a compelling argument for why the iPhone needs this, and I think he’s dead on. Apple can continue adding these one by one, like they did with the system-wide dictionary and Twitter in iOS 5. But it would be so much easier to give 3rd party apps access to whatever they need. No matter what, there will always be more apps than built-in features. Why not let them streamline the user experience rather than complicating it?

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