Apple throws down the social gauntlet

There’s already a ton of press about Apple’s WWDC, and a lot of discussion about the next generation MacBook Pro, iOS 6, Mountain Lion and more. Some things of note: Engadget has a good review of the new MacBook Pro, John Gruber at DaringFireball breaks it all down into 3 main takeaways, and of course, there’s all the coverage from the Verge. I won’t rehash any of what’s been discussed, but there are a couple of things that I found particularly intriguing that don’t seem to be getting much coverage.

Apple made a big deal about being able to share maps, photos and web pages through social networks and the integration of Twitter (the deeper integration, that is) and Facebook that’s coming in iOS 6. This means that more people will be able to share things with their existing social accounts. Not terribly earth shattering, but it’s something that all of the iOS users I know have been clamoring for. In the background, however, is something that’s even more intriguing.

The first is Apple’s sharing capabilities beyond just Facebook and Twitter. Apple is placing a ton of  importance on Apple IDs and the complement of Mountain Lion and iOS 6 seamlessly integrating the desktop and mobile experiences. Take a picture on your iPhone and it appears on your desktop. Create a document on your desktop and you can not only view it on your mobile device, but edit it as well. Microsoft is moving in this direction with Windows 8, but from what I’ve seen and heard, their efforts aren’t nearly as seamless. Apple is truly blurring the lines between the desktop and mobile in a way the others can only hope to do.

Beyond that, however, and even more interesting, are the new sharing features for photo streams. You will soon be able to share pictures with people in your address book, and those people will not only get a shared album in their own photo stream but they will be able to comment on these photos as well. That is HUGE! That means that Apple users have the ability to share with true friends – NOT Facebook friends, or business associates, people you knew in the 7th Grade or other acquaintances and followers that you’ve accumulated since you signed up for Twitter and Facebook. These are actual friends of yours. These are people you regularly call, message and interact with. This, more than anything else, is the beginning of the Apple social network.

Look at it this way: one of the major uses of Facebook is photo sharing. However, photo sharing was never easy in Facebook. Have you ever tried to share a photo with just a few Facebook friends? It’s difficult at best. Photo sharing is so popular that Facebook bought Instagram and then released their own camera app (and what platform got the Facebook camera first?). However, the iPhone is one of the most popular cameras out there and with the new sharing and commenting features in photo stream, Apple takes the primary Facebook hook and brings it back into iOS and the desktop. Users can now share pictures with JUST true friends and the people they are closest to. They are filling in the gap between sharing with “friends” and sharing with friends.

Finally is Passbook. This is Apple moving into Square and Google Wallet territory. It can’t be anything but…especially since it already mirrors Square’s Card Case. The implications of this are huge, and Dan Rowinski over at ReadWriteWeb does a much better job of breaking it down that I could. Suffice it to say that Apple is moving towards processing transactions, just as a Visa or Amex do, but couple that power with the ability to provide services that neither Visa or Amex could ever hope to provide.

There are some that are saying that Monday’s keynote at the WWDC was an attempt to throw down the gauntlet with Google. Well, that could be, but it may have been an even subtler jab at Facebook. Apple looks to be moving towards creating their own social network. I guess only time will tell.

Social Media Killed The Email Star

Since 2007, tech pundits have been declaring the death of email, citing a declining use among teens. Its purported killer? Social media.

Four years is an awfully long time to sound the death bells for a medium that’s used daily by billions of people across the globe, especially since you can’t even register for social media service like Google+, Facebook or Twitter without a valid email address—proof that social media didn’t kill the email star; it just rode its coattails to fame.

While there’s no doubt social media has changed the way we communicate, email remains one of “the most popular activities on the Web,” according to comScore. It’s also among the most lucrative, as companies like Google and Microsoft can attest.

Do you know why? We do, and we’re sharing that knowledge at 11 a.m. on Monday, August 8 at HostingCon 2011 during a presentation titled “The Lessons of ‘The Ten': Why Google and Microsoft Want Your Email.” Join us!

This post was written by Tiffany D., a marketing and technical communications specialist for SmarterTools. If you liked this post, please consider subscribing to the SmarterTools Blog so you don’t miss an update.

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