Facebook this past Thursday took the wraps off of its highly anticipated Facebook Phone. Calling it a phone, however, is a bit of a misnomer because it's more of a Facebook layer -- dubbed Facebook Home -- that sits atop of Android and effectively drapes the user experience with all things Facebook.
For instance, when a user installs Facebook Home (which will be available from the Google Play store), the user's homescreen and lockscreen become home to his/her Facebook newsfeed. Put simply, it's Facebook 24/7.
In addition to being available as a download from Google, Facebook announced that it will come pre-installed on various devices as well, including the HTC First. Facebook also partnered up with handset manufacturers like Samsung and Sony to release Facebook Home enabled smartphones in the future.
All that said, can we expect to see Facebook Home show up in the iOS App Store anytime soon?
Well, given that Apple exerts stringent control over the look and feel of its iPhone user experience, smart money is that the answer to that question is a resounding no.
Naturally, Zuckerberg was asked about the prospects of Facebook Home coming to iOS during Thursday's media event. He was rather diplomatic with his response.
"We have a great relationship with Apple," Zuckerberg answered. "We have integration into iOS, we've worked with them before. With Apple, everything you want to do goes through them. With Android, it doesn't have to."
In a subsequent interview with Wired's Steven Levy, Zuckerberg was asked if he could envision Facebook Home coming to iOS in two years time.
While Zuckerberg admits that Facebook has a "pretty good partnership with Apple", he is also keenly aware that Apple is adamant about controlling the entire user experience.
That notwithstanding, Zuckerberg answered that he would "love for that answer to be yes" before proceeding to explain that Android's open platform gives them the flexibility they need to create unique user experiences like Facebook Home.
"Of course, a lot of people also love iPhones," Zuckerberg added. "I love mine, and I would like to be able to deliver Facebook Home there as well."
Bloomberg TV also posted an interview with Jon Erlichman who recalled asking Zuckerberg about how an enhanced Facebook experience sits with rivals and partners like Apple. "We love Apple," Zuckerberg told Erlichman.
It's interesting to note that Apple and Facebook, while seemingly on good terms now, have butted heads in the past. You might remember that Steve Jobs a few years ago explained why Apple was never able to secure a deal to integrate Facebook with Ping, Apple's failed attempt at a social network for music. Jobs said that talks with Facebook went nowhere because Facebook wanted "onerous terms that we could not agree to."
Nonetheless, Steve Jobs admired Mark Zuckerberg's determination to create a long-standing company and not sell out for a quick payday when such opportunities presented themselves. What's more, Jobs biographer Walter Isaacson once recalled that when he asked Jobs who he admired most in Silicon Valley, Zuckerberg was the person Jobs mentioned. Jobs appreciated Zuckerberg's "intuitive feel" regarding Facebook's direction, his willingness to "cannibalize old things" and, according to Isaacson, "felt an odd kinship with Mark."
Zuckerberg expressed a similar sentiment during a November 2011 interview with Charlie Rose.
I mean, Apple is a company that is so focused on just building products that -- for their customers and their users. And -- and that's like -- it's such a deep part of their mission is build these beautiful products for their users. And I think we connected a lot on this level of, okay, Facebook has this mission that's really more than just trying to build a company, right, that has a market cap or a value. It's like we're trying to do this thing in the world. And I don't know, a lot of it I just think we connected on that level.
And on a somewhat related note, Zuckerberg about a year ago uploaded a photo of his desk to Facebook. Suffice it to say, Facebook's office space seems rather Mac heavy while Zuck appears to be a fan of Apple's MacBook Air.
Lastly, if I may jump back to Facebook Home for a second, Zuckerberg indicated that Facebook Home will eventually display advertisements. I wonder how users, not to mention Google, will feel about that.