Twitter rumored to be fully integrated into iOS 5

twitterThe tech world is rumbling this morning with reports and rumors about Twitter‘s allegedly forthcoming new photo-sharing service, and the microblogging giant’s possible integration with Apple‘s soon-to-be-unveiled iOS 5 mobile operating system for iPhone and iPad devices.

According to TechCrunch, the so-called “Twitter Pictures” service will “likely” be directly integrated into iOS 5, which would enable users to upload pictures directly from their iPhone or iPad onto Twitter Pictures in a much more seamless way than is currently possible with services like TwitPic or yfrog. The functionality will probably be similar to the way iOS users can currently upload videos directly to YouTube from the Camera Roll with a single click of a new “Send to Twitter” button.

Twitter Picture integration could only be the tip of the proverbial iceberg. As Daring Fireball‘s John Gruber (a man known for getting things right in the tech world) enigmatically points out, TechCrunch has missed the “bigger story” about a marriage between Apple and Twitter. “Imagine what else [iOS 5] could provide if your Twitter account was a system-level service,” he writes. Imagine, indeed.

The good folks at 9to5Mac take the Apple-Twitter speculation one step further, suggesting that iOS 5 won’t simply have a new “Send to Twitter” button. Instead, we could soon see the launch of a new type of social network that would enable iPhone users to set up custom “Photo Streams,” which their friends can follow. Followers would be able to view their friends’ pictures as they are taken and uploaded to their stream.

Given Apple’s friendly relationships with two other photo-sharing giants, namely Facebook and Flickr, it’s not outside the realm of possibility that those services could be integrated with the Photo Stream feature as well.

This all means that we could see the launch of a huge new player in the social media game when Apple CEO Steve Jobs takes the stage next week at the Worldwide Developers Conference, where all this rumor will be replaced with cold, hard facts.