Apple never stops tweaking their iOS software, and that may be the main reason the popularity of the iPhone continues to skyrocket. And the battle between the titans--Apple, Microsoft and Google--has made for some interesting and unlikely hook-ups. List Apple and Twitter as one of those strange relationships that started at the bar as a drunken rebound and miraculously evolved into something serious.
Apple and Twitter recently struck a deal to make Twitter's social networking service more fundamentally embedded into the operating system of iOS 5, premiering this Fall. iOS 5, to be found in iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch devices, signals a shift beyond application-based services to one where a specific social media application is integrated into the very workings of the device.
According to an Apple statement, this amalgamation means that there will be a more streamlined process in posting photos, videos and links from your Apple device to Twitter. iPhone users will also be able to completely sync their contacts and Twitter followers, much like the Facebook application currently does. These features will now be part of the internal workings of the device software rather than through a third party application.
For Twitter, this marks another step in a steady process toward integration and ownership. The micro-blogging site already purchased the popular third-party application TweetDeck earlier this year and recently added its own photo sharing service. These moves were seen as preparation for something big, which the deal with Apple has now confirmed.
Twitter, which unofficially launched in Austin at SXSW in 2007, is now more than 200 million users strong, and iPhone users remain the largest group of social media fanatics. So strong that extra cell phone towers had to be shipped to Austin to handle the extra SXSW traffic in recent years. Furthermore, demand for Apple gadgets has reached such a high that a temporary pop-up store opened during SXSW this past spring.
It's hard to say who the real winner is here, though it is certainly not Facebook. The social networking juggernaut with 700 million users--more than three times the number of active Twitter accounts--declined the advances of Apple to integrate into newer versions of iOS even though they are already integrated into Apple's iPhoto software. This marks a significant inroad made by Twitter into the sometimes impenetrable dominance of Facebook in the social media world. With Microsoft set to incorporate Facebook into their own purchase of Skype, we could have a social media arms race on our hands.
In the meantime, excitement abounds regarding the possibility of even funnier Autocorrect disasters. Imagine the hilarity when that NSFW video is accidentally texted to your mother or that late night message to your girlfriend ends up on the web. Austinites are going to need to be extra careful when commenting on friends' antics on the east side and tweeting snarky comments about bands at ACL.