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iPhone to integrate Twitter's new photo-sharing service in iOS 5 update

Twitter will roll out a photo-sharing service over the next few weeks, with rumours that it will be tightly integrated into the next version of Apple's iOS.

The iPhone will tightly integrate a new Twitter photo-sharing service as part of the upcoming iOS 5 update, our sister site CNET News reports.

Twitter CEO Dick Costolo used the D9 conference to confirm the new service will be rolling out in the Web interface to all users over the next few weeks. He spoke of the "need to remove the friction from adding photos to Twitter," a reference to the gaggle of competing pic-sharing services users have to choose from.

Apple is rumoured to be announcing deep Twitter integration as a new feature of iOS 5 at next week's WWDC, according to TechCrunch. This would allow direct sharing of photographs from the camera and photo app just as it's currently possible to send via email, YouTube, MobileMe and the like.

Regardless of any Apple deal, it's clear that Twitter is keen to control as much of the experience as possible. Last week it bought TweetDeck, not only opening the possibility of more advanced services for power users but also sending a warning shot to existing third-party apps that added little value. It has also added a stumble button and has its own URL-shortening service.

Twitter will use the Photobucket service for hosting images, but build its own interface on top of that. Services such as Twitpic, yFrog and Instagram have become popular as users find ways to share photos, and though Twitter has said its new service won't compete with the likes of Facebook albums, it's not clear how other photo-sharing sites will fare. Costolo said yFrog had already added valuable features Twitter doesn't currently have, but how long will that last?

In fairness, Twitter hasn't blocked other services, but we have to wonder how many people will continue to use them if all the features they need are built right in to Twitter and its official clients. Other apps can no longer play copycat, but need to be exceptional in order to cut it with Twitter.