January 20, 2011
Facebook is huge. And now, a movie (The Social Network) about its founding could nab the Oscar for Best Picture. Instagram makes editing photos easy, and sharing them with anyone even more so. Twitter lets you tweet about last night’s date to friends around the world in 140 words or less. Is there a need for even more social interaction? Reading the tea leaves, Apple thinks so. The latest iOS 4.3 beta 1 includes some interesting hints at what might be coming in the future. For one, there is a feature called “Media Stream,” and another called “Photo Streams.” Both (whatever they actually are) offer subscriptions, which can presumably be shared with others. Another feature, “Find My Friends” is embedded in code for Apple’s MobileMe service. Again, this looks like another way to communicate with others about something. Apple tried social networking last year with its much-maligned, but still existent Ping social networking for music. It looks like Apple may be trying something along the same lines again. Can Apple be successful? It depends. My personal opinion is that the social networking space is over saturated. Still, you cannot count out a company as large and as innovative as Apple. At the very least, Apple could team up with Facebook (or perhaps Twitter) and change the social networking landscape as we know it. The best bet would be to shut down Ping and give us a genuine way to share our musical (and app) likes and dislikes on an existing system. And, use MobileMe (in some way) as the vehicle. For example, Apple could collaborate with Facebook and give friends the ability to share their documents, calendars, or current locations (courtesy of their iDevices, using MobileMe). Plus, what about letting us share our iBooks for a limited time like we can using the Kindle and Nook apps? Or, maybe do the same with our music or movie collection? The possibilities are endless. What do you think "Find My Friends," "Media Stream," and "Photo Streams" are all about? Leave your comments below.
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