Apple is moving slowly towards embracing the social media market. They introduced Genius a long time, which enables to give you advice what music might be interested for you in relation to the music you already listened. With the upgrade van de iPhone OS they introduced Genius for apps, which gives you advice on what apps you might want to use based on the already installed apps on your iPhone.
It is hardly unthinkable that Apple wouldn’t take Genius to some other levels, besides music and apps there is many more things for which they could do recommendations. They will probably take it to the level of people, not only will Apple suggest with which people you should connect, they might also use your current network to improve their recommendations even more: “ten of your friends use app Y, you might want to use it too”, or “five of your friends spend $30 dollars on Snow Leopard and think it is worth their money, do you want to buy Snow Leopard right now?” What should the name be of the social network of Apple? Pretty simple just “i”, we got the iPod, iTunes, iPhone, iMac, iPhoto and many more, but a social network is always centered around “I”, so just “i” would be very stylish and sufficient.
Apple has a unique link with both the offline and the online world. Offline with its hardware and online with iTunes, which will become the center of their social network. Based on input from both offline and online Apple is one of the few players in the market that can create recommendations based on experiences instead of on data input. Also Apple is very successfull in rolling out products and services people want to pay for either it is based on atoms (their hardware line) or bits (mobile.me) they have a loyal user (or should I say: fan) base of people who are very willing to give Apple money in exchange for hardware and services.
You won’t need that friend
Of course that is great, that Apple will help you in making decisions, even when it comes to a simple friendship. However there could be a downside, Apple is not the most transparent company in the world and Apple is very well known about their mentality of “we know what is best for you” (for example: no cut and paste on the iPhone and for the app store there a dozens of app that were not approved because of vague reasons). Apple could be the first social network that defriends people in your network automatically since Apple knows that you are no longer a match based on your hardware, music or applications. You would only mind for a second or two, then you realize that Apple is just helping you like it is helping you by selecting the only the apps they think are best for you in the appstore. You only deserve the best, if it is music, apps or friends, Apple knows that and Apple will help you with making these hard decisions.