Duncan Wilcock


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Thursday, June 13, 2013

Apple's Social Network

Ping - Apple's first Music focused social network -  didn't work out so well, but slides and features of iOS7 announced at WWDC 2013 are demonstrating that Apple is stealthily building it's own social network - one that perhaps does everything most people want, and a lot less that many don't want.

300 Million Accounts

A slide Tim Cook splashed up on screen at WWDC - and the bold statement he made - faster than Facebook to reach it.

iMessage & Game Centre

Tim Cook talked about these two things that Apple does "that are social" at All Things D a couple of weeks prior to WWDC. He may have said that he never felt Apple needed a social network, but I think Apple is hedging it's bets by building one anyway.

Find my Friends

A super useful app that let's you see where your friends with iDevices are on a temporary or permanent basis.  This location sharing is a great application, and something that Google, Facebook, Foursquare & others have been trying to crack for a few years.  I know I haven't been able to get my friends interested in the services of the other guys, but I have been able to get groups of 5 to 10 to sign on to use Find my Friends.   This is an example of an Ad-hoc Social Network - an interesting, and useable evolution of the social networking phenomenon.

Shared Photostreams

Sharing photos is a major application of social networking.  One of the main things people do on Facebook, and one key reason Facebook bought Instagram. Photostreams are much more private though - which a lot of users will find more appealing- certainly members of my own social circle that decidedly don't use Facebook are enjoying posting and commenting on Photostream photos.  Shared Photostreams - where multiple users will be able to add photos to the same album in iOS7 is a new & better experience than single person albums. Using Photostreams with my friends the past year many asked this same question - "Oh - can we just add them all do the same Album?"  - It's an obvious &  desirable use case.   Even better, it makes it easy to then save full resolution copies of the photos direct to your iPad or iPhoto on your Mac.

No Wall, Intrusive Games, Facebook Apps, or Advertising

I like Facebook for the most part, but frankly - it's a bit noisy. In fact taking over the photosharing will make the chatter stand out that much more. Social networking may segregate into chatty places & quieter - more private places. Places for photosharing, for location sharing, and for less intrusive gaming.   It's already a little narcissistic when we post our photos on Facebook, it may begin to appear even more so in future.

iTunes Radio

Photos are a big social sharing application, and music is too as were seeing lately with Songza, Pandora, Rdio, and Twitter Music.  Ping didn't work out so well, and I haven't had my hands on iTunes Radio yet to see for myself, but I'll bet that there will be social features baked into iRadio that continue to expand Apple's social relevance.

Hiding in Plain Sight

Put all this together and I see that like so many times before, Apple is rolling - quietly working away on something very big - almost unnoticed in plain sight.