Games and apps on the iPhone have just got a whole lot more compelling; Facebook Connect is coming to the handset.

While Facebook's senior platform manager Dave Morin was keen to point out the social network's redesigned (but poorly received) homepage and real-time stream, the real news was to be found elsewhere.

At the end of his session, Morin aped Steve Jobs. "If that's sort of the past, we have one more thing... I've been personally waiting for this day for many, many years.

"What we've been trying to do for the web is pushing things to be more social...but we haven't seen a full integration where people can actually create social applications for an operating system."

"It's all about mobile and the iPhone, so today we're announcing Facebook Connect for the iPhone. For the first time, your iPhone apps can now have friends."

Facebook Connect was launched last year, enabling Facebook users to login and share information via other websites but using their Facebook login. Apps such as Joost and Apple's iPhoto have plugged into it; in iPhoto's case, it enables you to directly tag people from the app. Over 6,000 apps are now using the protocol.

Cross-platform interaction

So now, any iPhone apps can now use the protocol to help users get access to their Facebook profile, friends and feed data. That means apps on iPhone and the desktop can also interact with one another cross-platform.

This is especially good for games where Facebook friends can play against each other.

Facebook announced several partners including Tapulous (Tap Tap Revenge) and the Social Gaming Network (SGN). A new SGN game called Agency Wars was given its debut – it works with GPS so players can discover others in the real world.

SGN's iBowl (now updated to 5.0) enables you to see who of your friends is bowling and compare scores.

UK firm Playfish is also launching Who Has The Biggest Brain? with full Facebook Connect integration.

Other apps include Urbanspoon, which you might have seen on the recent iPhone TV ads – it's the one which uses a slot-machine-style interface to find restaurants near you. You can also shake your phone to find a restaurant at random. It seems photos and reviews will be able to be added from Facebook accounts, while Urbanspoon data will show up in Facebook feeds.

Flixster will also use the protocol with its app, enabling you to find Facbook friends who like the same movies as you do. Morin added that Facebook Connect for the iPhone will soon also be used in apps from firms including EA Sports and MTV.

Facebook today also announced that Seesmic has created a desktop status-update app plus extra developer funding for those wanting to create iPhone Facebook Connect apps.