Facebook has moved to further integrate itself with Apple's iOS mobile operating system by making it easier for developers to connect the social network with native iPhone and iPad apps.
On Wednesday, Facebook announced the beta version 3.0 of its iOS software development kit (SDK), saying it would make it "easier and faster to develop Facebook-integrated iOS apps". The company also took the wraps off an iOS dev centre that provides tools and resources for the purpose.
"The new features make the SDK a natural extension of Apple's iOS environment and make your development cycle more efficient by eliminating the need to develop and manage common tasks," Facebook's Jason Clark wrote in a blog post. "This SDK update is fully backwards compatible with our previous SDK release."
The next version of the iPhone and iPad operating system, iOS 6, will offer Facebook as a login method, marking an unprecedented tie-in between the two platforms.
The new beta SDK is part of that cooperation, including a new object called FBSession to make it simpler for iOS apps to authorise Facebook logins natively, rather than having to open a web view to do so.
The SDK also comes with native iOS user interface components for displaying users' profile pictures, querying the Facebook Places database and filtering users' friends, and offers a couple of other features to cut down on latency and improve memory management.
Mobile is arguably the big gap in Facebook's strategy. The company has long been rumoured to be developing its own phone, but the iOS 6 announcement suggested that it was hitching its plan to Apple's platform instead.
Facebook has also been pushing hard for developers to create HTML5-based Facebook Platform apps for mobile. It is not yet clear if this strategy will work — certainly as far as resource-intensive games go, at least one Facebook Platform games developer, Wooga, has already abandoned its HTML5 attempt in favour of a native experience, citing performance and discoverability problems.