Stephen Foley: Apple and Facebook's love-in will end in tears amid fight for big prize

 

US Outlook The correct unit of measurement when it comes to coverage of Apple product launches is not column inches, but column miles, and there have been more written than usual this week on the escalating rivalry between the iPhone maker and Google. Sure, the newly unveiled iOS 6 operating system is an aggressive attempt to sideline Google's services on the iPhone and iPad. But the showdown really foreshadowed by iOS 6 is the one between Apple and Facebook.

That might sound counter-intuitive, given that iOS 6 is the first Apple operating system to integrate Facebook, allowing users to share photos or their latest Angry Birds scores direct to their Facebook friends, with a single touch.

The Apple-Facebook partnership is not like the Apple-Google love-in of old, when Google's Eric Schmidt sat on Apple's board and Google Maps and YouTube were designed as integral parts of the iPhone experience. That love-in is rapidly unravelling, with iOS 6 ousting Google Maps as the default location app and improvements to Siri, the iPhone's voice-activated search engine.

All the signs are that the Facebook partnership is a hard-nosed business deal reached at the end of some pretty feisty negotiations. Facebook went as far as launching its own camera app for Apple devices, and hinting that it has restarted work on a Facebook Phone to rival the iPhone, as if to telegraph that it has a powerful go-it-alone strategy.

The business impulse that drove Apple and Google apart will do the same for Apple and Facebook. All these companies are fighting for essentially the same prize. They all want to be the indispensable middleman for our mobile experience. They want to be the place collecting and housing the data on our likes and our locations, on our searches and our social network. They want to be the platform on which software developers create their games and other apps. They want to be the broker for advertisers that want to reach us.

Apple, of course, is more interested in protecting the user experience, to sell more of its high-priced devices; Google is bent on monetising our data through ads; Facebook might end up making more money from mobile commerce across its platform than it does from mobile ads, but we'll see about that. What is for sure is that it needs to bring back activity on to the Facebook platform that now happens in third-party apps on Apple's and other mobile devices.

Apple is putting more and more work into iCloud, its digital locker, which mainly contains users' iTunes music. Facebook is where most people keep their photos. The social network and iCloud are conceptually not that far apart.

Apple's iOS 6, meanwhile, hints at the start, just the start, of something the company has failed to achieve, namely its own social network. Ping, its last attempt, was a dismal failure, but iOS 6 builds in a few intriguing features. It allows new and easier photo sharing via Apple iCloud and there are services for keeping track of the location of family and friends.

Don't be fooled by the partnership deal between Apple and Facebook. It is a temporary marriage of convenience. It can't last.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Ashdown Group: Graduate Application Support Analyst

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

Reach Volunteering: External Finance Trustee Needed!

Voluntary post, reasonable expenses reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: Would you ...

Christine McCleave: FP&A Analyst

£36,000 - £40,000: Christine McCleave: Are you looking for a new opportunity a...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £40,000

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn