Yours Socially, Apple.
Apple was a laughing stock when it introduced Ping. Its foray into the social world when Twitter and Facebook were going great guns. Eventually, Apple decided to keep it but went easy on promoting it. There were some lessons learnt. Not just from its own failures but from the successes of Facebook and Twitter. The entire social world is about sharing something, obviously. Mostly crappy thoughts, photos and videos, news, chatting – text, audio or video to name the top of the list. Slowly Facebook needed Instagram and Twitter also aligned to some photo services. Facebook even tried an eMail, partnered with Skype and had its Chat. Google tried and is trying hard with Google+ with little luck in convincing people to use it. Facebook survives merely because it was the first.
2012 WWDC, Apple silently walked into the backdoor of Social networking by taking a different perspective, intentionally or accidentally. With the announcement of Photo sharing on Photo stream along with the ability to comment on it – Apple has sealed one of the final pieces of Social Networking. Now, with an Apple device you are passively social (sorry i couldn't think of a better term). You share pictures with your friends, you chat via Facetime and iMessages and of course with an iPhone you make a call. Compare this with Facebook model where the primary challenge (that Google is facing now) is getting people to sign up for any service users may or may not use.
Cleverly, Apple decided to join Facebook in what was something of an eyewash if the pitch to Facebook was Twitter statistics. Facebook is not Twitter. Facebook probably expects people to use and share more of Facebook if they were to have OS level integration. It is not that people will share something that they didn’t already. Even if they did share, it’s not going to help Facebook make money - falling stock value and numerous posts around (apart from anything apple – if at all – agreed to pay). On the other hand, Apple quietly added Facebook likes to its App Store and promoted it as the Facebook integration everyone wanted. In reality, the 30 Billion downloaded apps that Apple flaunted will only increase as a result of this. As you start liking apps on App store, more (Facebook) friends will get to know of an app – and thats the most cheapest ad. you can ever get. More importantly a place to sell with a huge customer network without actually selling it there.
Apple quietly understood that it will not stand to gain by creating a social network but will certainly gain by having the “sharing” services available thereby making everyone passively social. It’s not going to be long from now when Phone+Messages+Facetime+chat all integrate into the communication space while Cloud level sharing of photos and videos is taken care by the iCloud features. Apple doesn’t care about News or status message sharing as they will use Facebook and Twitter for that. For anything else, these 2 services will fill the gap. Blogging is a different world altogether.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Apple opened up a part of iCloud to a consolidated “Me” (in a me.com) Page that will represent the Facebook or Google Profile. Little help on activity and boom.
By yanking Google based maps, creating an equivalent of Picasa, going along with Twitter and Facebook to their own benefit, having Siri partner with all services to “search” for stuff -Apple is one stop short of realizing one angle of the famous “Thermonuclear” war on Google in a very soft and silent way. How they feel about it was obvious with the references to Ben and Jerry’s creating ICS/JB by Siri and Forstall calling Google’s ICS as a “dairy product”.
It was a bad decision to reject Apple’s friendship.