A report from TechCrunch claims that Apple and Facebook are on the brink of striking a deal to bring the social media giant's substantial assets to future iDevices with built-in iOS 6 integration, and the Cupertino-based company will supposedly announce the new feature at WWDC this month.
During his interview at the D10 conference on Wednesday, Apple CEO Tim Cook spoke of Facebook and when asked about deeper integration of the social network in iOS he teased the possibility, saying "stay tuned." The move would bring a greater level of flexibility to Apple's mobile platform, offering access to the nearly ubiquitous "Log in with Facebook" authentication method as well as system-wide sharing abilities.
Apple has previously shown interest in bringing Facebook into the iOS fold and an iOS 5.1 beta revealed that the two companies were at least working on some sort of solution.
It is thought that Facebook integration will be fashioned in much the same way as Twitter is set up in iOS 5, giving users the ability to share photos, websites and other content with friends and followers.
One major improvement to the existing Facebook iOS interface would be a more streamlined one-click sign-on to the multitude of websites and apps that offer Facebook authentication, especially beneficial especially for those programs that use the service as an exclusive means of entry. In order to sign in with Facebook in iOS 5, a user clicks on a Facebook connect button which opens the Facebook app. After agreeing to allow access to various metrics in a user's account, iOS automatically switches back to the original app. The solution is hardly ideal and is seen as more of a workaround to not having true built-in integration.
Twitter is said to remain in iOS with its capabilities fully intact and the addition of Facebook will represent another value-added feature for iDevice users.
Current implementation of Facebook Connect in iOS 5.1.1 as seen in the Readability app for iPad.
It should be noted that until Apple or Facebook makes an official announcement, the rumor remains just that and either company can back out at the last minute. A prime example of how tenuous a relationship the two companies share is Apple's Ping social music network, which was widely rumored to have Facebook support. The deal ultimately fell through due to what Apple co-founder Steve Jobs referred to as "onerous terms."
Apple's WWDC will kick off on June 11 and run through June 15.