As OS X Mountain Lion Proves, Twitter Is Apple’s Social Network

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At Apple’s WWDC event last June, Twitter made a new best friend: Apple. The tech giant announced that it would bake the social network into every single iOS device by way of the new iOS 5 software. This left many stunned for two reasons. 1) Apple rarely does such deep partnerships with third-parties. 2) It wasn’t Facebook.

It was all-around a huge win for Twitter. And a win for Apple as well, as it has been proven throughout the years that they don’t get social — a subject which was a topic of debate again yesterday coincidentally. Apple needs to build it’s own social network, Dan Frommer argued! No, they need to get their social platform right, argued TechCrunch editor Eric Eldon. Well, today they’re taking a big step: by doubling down on Twitter.

Apple has just revealed that Twitter is also going to be baked into the latest version of OS X, Mountain Lion. This means that every single new Mac sold beginning this summer will have Twitter functionality built in. And all of the older ones that upgrade will have it too. There are now just over 60 million Macs out there. Again, a huge win for Twitter.

Twitter CEO Dick Costolo said in December that following the iOS 5 integration, Twitter monthly sign-ups jumped 25 percent. iOS already has a much larger user base than the Mac does, but still, Twitter could see another double digit jump from this integration as well.

More importantly, Twitter has now firmly established itself as not just the iOS go-to social service, but Apple’s go-to social service. Sure, Apple could always rip Twitter out of iOS and OS X at any point in the future, but doing so would now piss off users who are being trained to expect it as an Apple core OS feature. For a service still not making a ton of money and as such, has its future questioned constantly, this is important. It’s a huge endorsement.

It’s also big news for Twitter because it opens up a whole new world for the service as a method of authentication. With iOS, apps can choose to use Twitter to ease new sign-ups — allowing people to get going with one or two clicks. Now Mac apps will be able to do the same thing. I don’t think there’s any question that Facebook still dominates this authentication space, but Twitter’s Apple alliance is making them much more compelling for this purpose — for developers, at the very least.

Just last week, some were criticizing Twitter for seemingly wayward focus. Today, they just scored a second massive partnership with the most valuable company on the planet. That sure seems like a sign of good focus to me.