10-4, Good Buddies

It’s official: Apple will unveil the iPhone 5 on Oct. 4.

But it is widely expected that they’ll make an announcement for the iPad, too:

Last week, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Facebook would probably introduce an iPad app at some point. I suspect “at some point” means Oct. 4. And the Facebook iPhone app, which kinda sucks, deserves a refresh at the same time.

But wait: Aren’t Apple and Facebook wary of each other? Apple tried to launch its own social networking system last year. Remember Ping? And Apple is well aware that Facebook will soon have ONE BILLION USERS who don’t really care if they access Facebook on an iPhone, an iPad … or an Android phone, an Amazon tablet, an HP TouchPad (er, nevermind), a toaster, an Xbox, or an Etch-a-Sketch.

Facebook currently has 800 million regular users, and 350 million of them tap into Facebook on a mobile device, even though the mobile Facebook apps kinda suck.

Yes, Apple and Facebook are wary of one another. But they share a common enemy:

Oh, hi, Larry.

And, as the ancients so wisely noted, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.”

Mobile is the future; Facebook lacks a strong mobile platform, which Apple can provide.

Social is the future; Apple lacks a strong social platform, which Facebook can provide.

Google is the enemy; Android competes against Apple’s iOS and Google just bought a mobile phone maker (Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion), and Google+ (the fastest-growing social network in history) competes against Facebook, and everywhere Apple and Facebook want to go, Google is there waiting for them, licking its chops.

So, I expect Facebook to “friend” Apple, and vice versa, at next Tuesday’s events. And that, to me, is far more interesting than the incremental improvements we expect to see in the iPhone 5.

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Peter Lewis

Peter Lewis has covered the tech industry since 1982 as a Senior Writer at The New York Times (where he personally registered the nytimes.com domain), Senior Editor at Fortune magazine, and professor of digital journalism at Stanford University. He is a veteran of two startups. One was named "Cool Company" of the year by Fortune, and folded six weeks later.

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