Today Facebook unveiled “Home,” its new, immersive Android experience. HTC has partnered with Facebook to launch the HTC First, a smartphone designed from the ground up for Home. Other Android handset makers are in the pipeline to release Home-based devices down the road.
Home is a great idea for Facebook and Facebook lovers, and it will probably be very popular on Android after it becomes available next week. But don’t expect to get Facebook Home on your iPhone. Not in this lifetime.
“Apple is a very controlled environment.”
After Facebook’s event today at its California headquarters, the press got to ask some questions about Home. “We have a great relationship with Apple,” said Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg when asked if Home would come to iOS. “Apple is a very controlled environment,” he added.
During the Home event earlier today, Zuckerberg mentioned that Google’s Android is great because it’s “so open.” The customizable nature of Android allows Facebook to hook itself into the innards of the OS. When you install Home, every aspect of your device is tailored to Facebook, from the lockscreen to notifications.
“Home will not be able to climb over Apple’s walled garden.”
There’s absolutely no way Apple would ever allow something like this on the iPhone. The “controlled environment” Zuckerberg was referring to will continue to keep anything as immersive Home at bay. The Facebook integration that currently exists in iOS 6 is about as good as it’s going to get—post a quick status from Notification Center or share a photo. iOS is Apple’s core experience, and everything else is designed to be complimentary. Home will not be able to climb over Apple’s walled garden.
What Facebook has cooked up is too invasive. It would completely override iOS and push Apple to the background. Apple would effectively be saying that iOS isn’t enough, which goes against everything the company projects to the public.
Facebook may have a good relationship with Apple now, but allowing Home on iOS would give Facebook too much leverage over Apple’s cash cow, the iPhone. iOS is iOS, and that’s the way Apple likes it.