Facebook On Apple TV
Cook didn’t say “there’s some things in the works” or “we’re excited about partnerships with Facebook”, he repeatedly said “stay tuned”. That’s the phrase old TV shows used to convince you to keep watching through a commercial or until the next episode. That, and reports that Apple may introduce an SDK for its Apple TV app platform at WWDC by BGR and John Gruber, lead me to believe Facebook and Apple are working together to turn you social network into a social TV show.
Facebook’s got the world’s biggest archive of photos, with 250 million posted each day, and allows for high-resolution uploads that’d look great blown up on a big screen. Imagine the photos from your news feed turned into a slideshow on your Apple television. Or the videos shared by friends streamed back-to-back. Even simple text status updates and their comments shown full-screen could be a pleasant laid-back experience. It could update reverse chronologically in real-time so you could leave it on to always see the latest content.
Apple would gain a good showcase for how existing mobile and web apps could be reformatted for the television. The special Facebook app could also be a selling point for Apple’s new TV hardware. Facebook needs to be on televisions and Apple needs Facebook on its televisions, so this collaboration seems inevitable if not imminent.
Auto-Sharing From iTunes To Facebook
There’s already reports from 9to5Mac and others that Apple plans to add Like buttons to iTunes and the App Store, but what if it went a step further and made content sharing automatic?
Apple could tap into a well of virality by integrating Open Graph auto-sharing into iTunes on both the desktop and mobile. If users opted in, stories about the songs, tv shows, and movies they download, listen to, or watch could be published to the news feed, inspiring referral traffic and purchases. If you could listen to or watch previews of that content straight from the news feed, even better, but firing up a separate web page or the iTunes desktop/mobile app would be fine too.
Privacy controls, especially easily activated “private mode” on any source of auto-sharing would be key, but considering the rise of Open Graph music, video, and news reader apps, it seems like lots of people would be fine sharing their iTunes and App Store activity. Apple has long been conservative about privacy-related product, but it may have finally woken up the fact that social, and the privacy concerns that come with it, are no longer optional.
Apple can’t just push people into a Facebook data permissions step, though, or users could click through blindly, get surprised by what’s shared, and a backlash could ensue. iTunes + Open Graph’s opt in would have to be very clearly explained.
Finally, this partnership around content and apps could strike a decisive blow to Google, who compete with Apple and Facebook via Android and Google+. Suddenly it would become much easier for 900 million people to discover iOS apps than Android apps, and they’d be constantly reminded of how much people use their iPhones, iPads, and MacBooks. If this all went down, Google would probably deepen the ties between Android and Google+, publishing similar stories to its own social network. The problem is few would see those stories as Google+’s time-on-site and user count is just a fraction of Facebook’s.