In yesterday’s launch of Facebook Home, Mark Zuckerberg was quite keen on stressing about the openness of Android OS as a whole that made it possible to develop Facebook home that allows to make some deep system level customisations. When asked about the possibility of extending Facebook Home to iOS users, Zuckerberg was quite non-committal saying that the experience of Google’s Android platform cannot be seen anywhere else. When questioned about iOS users to get to use Facebook Home, Zuckerberg had positive views about Apple as such saying that they had a great experience with Apple so far but he assured that unless and until some kind of partnership happens with Apple they cant extended something like Facebook Home to iOS users.
Apple’s iOS is highly restricted and anything that can be done with iOS is safely monitored by Apple before giving control to the developers. The only way to bypass Apple’s closed system is to jailbreak an iOS device that will give access to third party unsigned code to be installed on the device. But considering the relatively less number of jailbreak users in iOS community it will not be worth exploring for Facebook.
Facebook Home essentially is trying to change the way users interact with their devices. Zuckerberg, in the event last morning, said that current use engagement happens in a app level and Facebook Home aims to change it on to a user level. Rather than showing alerts by apps the system aims to show alerts by users. For example, alerts coming from user X in WhatsApp, SMS, Facebook and Twitter will all be grouped as a badge on the user display pic as alert badges. Going to the user badge one can check any alert coming from that user rather than opening each app individually and checking out the notifications. This essentially helps users in prioritising user level interaction rather than app level interaction that is happening right now.
Building such a system needs system level access to developers and Facebook claims that they had a special support from Google that gave access to parts of Android that are not accessible to the general Android community currently. And it seems to be quite impossible for Apple to provide such deep access to Facebook.