By and large, Apple
doesn't really "do" partnerships. The company likes to play pretty much all of its cards close, hence the vertical integration between software and hardware. So, it came as something of a surprise when Apple not only allowed access to Twitter on iOS 5, but integrated it so tightly into the mobile OS. Users can tap into Twitter as if it's a first-party service, which is hugely rare and unique in the Apple universe. Apple even tried its hand at a social network once with Ping, but that clearly went nowhere.
Now, with iOS 6, Apple is enabling the same level of tight integration with Facebook. But, it seems the company's true love may be Twitter. As for now, Twitter is still a private company; Facebook, of course, went public. According to a New York Times report, Apple has reportedly considered spending hundreds of millions on Twitter. The report details it as a "strategic investment," but there's still no promise that a deal will be struck. CEO Tim Cook has said before that Apple doesn't need to "own" a social network, but a monumental investment like this could certainly sway Twitter's future decisions. With Facebook on its own and Google pushing Google+, it's clear that there's an ongoing war in social. And, if Apple isn't going to participate directly, it could very well do so from the sidelines.
It'll be useful to keep a watch on how these discussions develop. If Apple does indeed invest in Twitter, it'll be a huge milestone for both companies. It could showcase a new Apple that is more willing to invest in things that it may consider rivaling technology. Perhaps Apple won't stick to its own ego in cases like these, and instead will use whatever technology is available to ensure the best user experience. Some may say that it's "only Twitter," but it's more about the precedent than anything else.