Facebook explains why Apple iPad app came so late

The official Facebook app for the Apple iPad was released 18 months after the first version of the tablet was released. Here's why it took so long for Facebook to get it out the door.

Earlier this month, Facebook finally released its official iPad app. Apple launched the original iPad back in April 2010 (18 months ago). So, what took so long?

Facebook is the most popular app on almost every mobile platform, if not all of them. An iPad version of the Facebook app has been expected since pretty much day one, and anticipation grew steadily as it quickly became the most popular tablet.

Unfortunately, it turns out Facebook didn't start working on an iPad version of its iOS app right away. The reason was simple: such an undertaking would supposedly mean more Facebook engineers working on mobile apps than the actual service.

"One of the challenges anyone has working on mobile experiences, is that there are a lot of different technologies and a lot of different platforms," Ethan Beard, Director of Platform Partnerships at Facebook, told The Next Web. "I remember when the iPad came out, we started saying 'let's cook up a team to work on this,' but then we took a step back. We had PC Web, mobile Web, a low-cost site for emerging markets, an Android App, iPhone app, and BlackBerry app. We would've had more people inside Facebook translating Facebook from the app that we'd built, into all those other platforms than we did have working on the core experience."

Even after Facebook got started, there were still many delays. The app was reportedly feature-complete back in May, but Facebook refused to release it. Some say it was because Facebook wanted to release the app along with its mobile apps platform. One of the last rumors suggested the two would launch together at Apple's iPhone 5 event. Sadly, Steve Jobs passed away that week and the two were pushed back, yet again.

Either way, it's out now. Some say it's truly beautiful and was worth the wait, but others are reporting problems. I'll keep you posted on new releases of the app as Facebook tries to sort out the kinks in the first version of its first tablet app.

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