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Tuesday, January 17, 2012, 12:07 pm PT (03:07 pm ET)

iOS 5.1 beta 3 hints Apple is planning deep Facebook integration

Evidence that Apple is building system-wide iPhone and iPad integration with Facebook, like it already does with Twitter, has been found in the latest beta of iOS 5.1.

Digging through the recently released third beta of iOS 5.1, iMore discovered evidence that Apple could add deep Facebook integration into a future operating system update. In one screenshot shown for the iOS Contacts application, there is an option to enter a person's Facebook user name right below their Twitter account.

System-wide Twitter integration was one of the most-touted features of iOS 5, which was publicly released last October. After its release, signups for Twitter grew by 25 percent.

Deep integration with the social networking service allows users to quickly post Web links from Safari or pictures saved in the Photos application to Twitter. Presumably, future iOS integration with Facebook would offer similar functionality, making it easier for users to share information with their friends on the popular website.

The pre-release build of iOS 5.1 also reportedly includes references to new iPad models named "J1AP" and "J2AP." The references corroborate with rumored code-names of "J1" and "J2" that were first reported last November, when it was said Apple was secretly working on two new iPad models.

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The third beta of iOS 5.1 was provided to developers last week. It is compatible with the iPhone 4S, iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPad 2, iPad, and fourth- and third-generation iPod touch.