Facebook for iOS
A number of Apple employees are working with Facebook to develop a new Facebook app for the iPhone and iPad, according to Bloomberg. The news comes after Apple announced that it would be integrating the social network into iOS 6 in a similar manner to the Twitter integration on iOS 5.
Facebook is utilising Apple expertise in order work on speed and performance enhancements for the Facebook app on iOS, and the recent development is thought to be independent of the planned Facebook integration. As most iOS users will update to iOS 6 and have access to the integrated features, the new Facebook app does seem a little superfluous.
Facebook has hired the help of Greg Novick, who has been instrumental in the development of touchscreen user interfaces at Apple, as well as iPhone software gurus Tim Omernick and Chris Tremblay. Also hired by Facebook are Scott Goodson, creator of the Apple Stocks app for iOS, and Mike Matas and Kimon Tsinteris, who have both since left Apple to work on their own project Push Pop Press. Although they no longer work for Apple, Matas and Tsinteris are said to have been instrumental in the development of the look and feel of iOS.
With inside knowledge of iOS these Apple employees and former employees will be able to help Facebook produce an app which makes the most of what iOS has to offer, and push its performance to its maximum potential. There is a possibility that some of the developments made will be implemented on Facebook apps for other operating systems, although this is currently unconfirmed. Facebook had recently overhauled its apps for Android, introducing a number of improvements.
A month ago news emerged that Facebook was planning on completely redesigning its app for iOS. It was originally speculated to be launched in July but the recent recruitments suggest that it will still be in development for some time to come, and launched later in the next few months.
As well as updating its iOS app and working on integration for iOS, Facebook is planning the launch of its own branded phone, the “Facebook Phone“. According to Best Mobile Contracts, Facebook had previously recruited a number of Apple engineers to work on the development of this phone, although the device is said to be manufactured by Apple’s competitor HTC.
HTC has previously produced what were at the time referred to as “Facebook Phones”, including the HTC Salsa and the HTC ChaCha. Both devices featured extensive Facebook notifications on their Android homescreens and came with physical Facebook buttons for direct access to the social network’s core functionality.
It is possible that the phone being developed by HTC and Facebook will come with a similar button. On the Salsa and ChaCha, the button could be used to automatically upload photos to Facebook after they had been captured with the phones’ cameras, and could also be used to share content from the phone and online. The phone is expected to be released early in 2013.
The Importance of Mobile
Google realised several years back that it needed to enter the mobile arena as more and more people started to use smartphones to connect to the internet. For companies such as Google and Facebook who primarily make all of their money from online advertising, having a good foothold in the mobile industry is essential for future survival of their businesses.
Google Android has been available since 2008 and has since become the most widely used mobile OS on the planet, but Facebook’s entry into the industry has been slow, limited to apps for the main operating systems. These apps do not allow Facebook to make the most of its advertising platform, and there has been a lot of pressure from investors for Facebook to maximise its profits since the company was floated on the stock market at the start of this year.