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.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
Sport
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
Voices
A meteor streaks across the sky during the Perseid Meteor Shower at a wind farm near Bogdanci, south of Skopje, Macedonia, in the early hours of 13 August
voicesHagel and Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise, says Robert Fisk
News
peopleEnglishman managed quintessential Hollywood restaurant Chasen's
Life and Style
food + drinkHarrods launches gourmet food qualification for staff
Arts and Entertainment
Michael Flatley prepares to bid farewell to the West End stage
danceMichael Flatley hits West End for last time alongside Team GB World champion Alice Upcott
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Life and Style
Horst P Horst mid-fashion shoot in New York, 1949
fashionFar-reaching retrospective to celebrate Horst P Horst's six decades of creativity
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
i100
Life and Style
Black Ivory Coffee is made using beans plucked from elephants' waste after ingested by the animals
food + drinkFirm says it has created the "rarest" coffee in the world
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie T plays live in 2007 before going on hiatus from 2010
arts + entsSinger-songwriter will perform on the Festival Republic Stage
Life and Style
food + drinkThese simple recipes will have you refreshed within minutes
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

C#.NET Server Side Developer (C#, XML, WCF, Unit Testing,SQL)

£30000 - £40000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: C#.NET ...

Junior Database developer (SQL, T-SQL, Excel, SSRS)

£20000 - £30000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: Junior D...

Business Analyst - Banking - London - £550 - £650

£550 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Business Analyst - Traded Credit Risk - Investmen...

Data Centre Engineer - Linux, Redhat, Solaris, SAN, Puppet

£55000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A financial software vendor at the forefro...

Day In a Page

All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
What happens to African migrants once they land in Italy during the summer?

What happens to migrants once they land in Italy?

Memphis Barker follows their trail through southern Europe
French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
Frank Mugisha: Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked

Frank Mugisha: 'Coming out was a gradual process '

Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked
Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

Radio 1’s new top ten

The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
Florence Knight's perfect picnic: Make the most of summer's last Bank Holiday weekend

Florence Knight's perfect picnic

Polpetto's head chef shares her favourite recipes from Iced Earl Grey tea to baked peaches, mascarpone & brown sugar meringues...
Horst P Horst: The fashion photography genius who inspired Madonna comes to the V&A

Horst P Horst comes to the V&A

The London's museum has delved into its archives to stage a far-reaching retrospective celebrating the photographer's six decades of creativity
Mark Hix recipes: Try our chef's summery soups for a real seasonal refresher

Mark Hix's summery soups

Soup isn’t just about comforting broths and steaming hot bowls...
Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'

Tim Sherwood column

I would have taken the Crystal Palace job if I’d been offered it soon after my interview... but the whole process dragged on so I had to pull out
Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard admits he is still below the level of Ronaldo and Messi but, after a breakthrough season, is ready to thrill Chelsea’s fans
Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

The Everton and US goalkeeper was such a star at the World Cup that the President phoned to congratulate him... not that he knows what the fuss is all about
Match of the Day at 50: Show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition

Tom Peck on Match of the Day at 50

The show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition