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Facebook and iOS native integration is just around the corner – why now?

facebook and iOS team upLast year, when Apple unveiled iOS 5, it revealed its native integration with Twitter… and left us all wondering, why not Facebook? There were a number of theories as to why the two digital superpowers didn’t combine forces, but now all the hypothetical situations will be squashed by iOS 6. According to TechCrunch, the latest iteration of Apple’s mobile OS will natively tie in the world’s largest social network.

Assuming that the system works as Twitter integration does, when you create content or use an app on the iPhone, you will have the option to automatically post it to Facebook. This would also mean signing into Facebook would be an much-improved, streamlined process. We also wouldn’t be surprising to see the Facebook Camera app somehow woven into the built-in iPhone camera app.

So what happened to move the Facebook-Apple relationship along? It really might just be time. There were whispers that some technical issues were holding up a partnership, but the even louder whispers were indicating that the fallout over the failed deal between Facebook and Ping still left a sour taste in Apple’s mouth and thus, Twitter was the more attractive client.

Now that even more time has passed and Apple is under new leadership a la Tim Cook, it’s time to revisit the idea of a baked-in approach to Facebook and the iPhone.

Because of this, some will be quick to assume that a Facebook phone is dead in the water: Why would Facebook partner with the manufacturer of the world’s most popular smartphone for native integration if it were planning to introduce its own handset? A native mobile experience with the social network is the only thing Facebook would have to leverage – especially if it partners with a lower-tier handset maker.

We wouldn’t be too quick to write off a “Facebook phone” just yet, however. Facebook needs to make a big mobile push, and this could be a just one avenue it’s taking, and a nice short-term fix. Integrating natively with iOS 6 gives it a bump; the next iPhone would obviously increase said bump; and then an all-Facebook, all-the-time handset would be yet another layer of users on top. Integrating with iOS 6 would also mean that Facebook wouldn’t have to rely on the success of its own smartphone, which to be honest, has the odds stacked against it. Smartphones featuring Facebook integration as their main selling point have failed to massively pique market interest.

Facebook shouldn’t put all its eggs in one basket when it comes to mobile, something it might have still been mulling over when iOS 5 debuted with Twitter integration. It’s older and wiser now, and its mobile roadmap is priority number one.

Now with Apple, there’s always a possibility the partnership will be pulled at the last minute, but as things currently stand, it’s all things go.