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Facebook iPad app found in iPhone code

by Emma Dunn

Well, you know what they say. Better late than never. Nearly 18 months after its launch, it seems that the iPad may be finally getting its own official Facebook app.

The clever people over at Techcrunch have found the code for the app in the latest update for the iPhone app that was pushed through last night.

It’s speculated that the app will be carefully optimised for the tablet and, like the iPhone app, will be free to download. Written in HTML 5, sources involved with development say that changes are being rolled out on almost an hourly basis. However, if they have started pushing out the code, it can be safe to say we are not too far away from a release.

About time too, seen as the iPad has been out for nearly 18 months. Considering that Facebook had an app ready for the launch of the iPhone app store back in 2008, it seems a bit odd that they haven’t released any iPad offerings until now. However, there has been no lack of third party applications, with My Pad, iFace and Friendly all providing an alternative to viewing the site through the iPad’s internet browser.

So, is the app a suitable alternative to the browser site? Definitely, if Techcrunch’s gushing review is to go by. The photo viewing capabilities are strikingly similar to the iPad’s native system and places comes with a fabulous big map so you can stalk your friends on the go. You can access the chat feature by flipping your iPad horizontally, and just like on the site, it operates in parallel with other functions, so you can chat while poking, posting and liking on other parts of the app.

There are a couple of new features, too. The app will allow users to take photos with their iPad and upload them without leaving the app, and it has a nifty left hand side menu that makes clever use of the iPad’s popover system. As you would expect from Facebook, the interface is very intuitive and the whole thing has a very slick feel.

However, the app, like other third party offerings, will not have gaming capabilities. It’s also hard to tell at this stage whether the iPad app will have the Skype powered video chat facilities that have just been introduced to the site.

Nevertheless, the Facebook iPad app will be a massive boon to both Apple and Facebook: for Facebook, this app will make the site more accessible to the 25 million iPad owners; for Apple, it’s another feature that may entice a few more customers who were originally considering a Google Android tablet. It’s a win-win.

Just a shame it didn’t happen sooner.

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