Facebook releases Apple iPad app, finally

Facebook today released its first official tablet app, for the Apple iPad. Facebook for iOS version 4.0 supports the iPad, the iPhone, and the iPod touch.
Written by Emil Protalinski, Contributor

Facebook today finally announced its first Apple iPad app. This is the first tablet app the social networking giant has ever released. You can download it now from the Apple App Store (version 4.0).

Here are the four main points the company wants to highlight:

  • A hands-on Facebook: Use your fingertips to scroll through your News Feed. Give the screen a swipe to page through albums. Pinch a picture to zoom in. Facebook on the iPad feels fun.
  • Bigger, better photos: Photos really shine on the iPad. They're bigger and easy to flip through, like a real photo album. It's like having a slideshow with all your friends and memories, wherever you go.
  • Navigate anywhere, fast: Your games, apps, groups, and lists are in the left-hand menu, so you don't have to dig around to find the stuff you use most. And your messages and notifications are at the top of every screen, so you can respond to friends and keep up with important updates without losing your place.
  • Chat, games, and other features: You can chat with friends right from your iPad, for example, and play games on Facebook in full-screen mode. You can also watch high-res videos inline, record HD video, and stream to Airplay devices.

Last month, Facebook for iOS version 3.5 was released. In this version, Facebook removed the unofficial iPad version that was discovered inside the app a few months ago. It's now back in today's release. Here is Facebook for iOS 4.0's official changelog:

  • Games & Apps: Play games and access your favorite apps on the go.
  • Navigation: Send a message or see your notifications from any screen, and swipe to browse Facebook without losing your place in News Feed.
  • Bookmarks: Your groups, pages, and apps are all in your left-hand menu, and the ones you use most are right on top.
  • Search: Search for anything on Facebook (people, apps, pages, and more) without having to click around or switch views.
  • Security: a few updates to make the app more secure.

For months now, Facebook was expected to release its official iPad app along with its mobile apps platform. Most recently, a rumor suggested the two would launch last week at Apple's iPhone 5 event. Sadly, Steve Jobs passed away last week and this is the speculated reason for the two being pushed back, yet again.

The original Apple iPad was released 18 months ago: in April 2010. An iPad version of the Facebook app has been expected since pretty much day one. Facebook is the most popular app on almost every mobile platform, if not all of them. Since an official version for Apple's tablet was not available till now, there are countless third-party Facebook iPad apps that are very popular, although most of them suck.

Apple isn't to blame here though – Facebook is. Microsoft develops the Facebook app for Windows Phone, Research In Motion develops the Facebook app for the BlackBerry OS, and HP develops the Facebook app for webOS. When it comes to iOS and Android, however, the social networking giant develops the dedicated Facebook app.

In fact, RIM actually beat Facebook to the punch and released the first dedicated tablet app for the social network. If RIM can quickly release a decent Facebook app for its BlackBerry PlayBook, Facebook not doing the same for the Apple iPad was clearly not due to technical reasons. In fact, the app was reportedly feature-complete back in May but Facebook refused to release it.

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