Facebook iPad app released into the wild

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The long-awaited Facebook app for the iPad 2 is finally here. The app gives an official platform to the world’s leading social network on one of the world’s most popular tablets. A number of analysts believed that the iPad 2 Facebook app would have launched last week during the iPhone launch event.

iPad owners have been “forced” to deal with unofficial applications to access Facebook such as the surprisingly excellent Flipboard and MyPad.

An interesting piece of additional info is that Facebook has now launched its HTML 5 platform dubbed “Project Spartan”. This has led to a drastic overhaul of the iOS versions of the app which include those for iPod Touch and the iPhone.

Luke Shepard, software development engineer at Facebook said:

We are at the beginning of bringing Facebook Platform apps to mobile. The features we are launching today are still under development. They will evolve as we learn more about building richer social experiences on mobile devices. In addition, we will extend our native support for more mobile platforms such as Android in the near future. We are excited to see what you will build with these features today and look forward to working with you as we improve these features.

Features added to the Facebook iPad app include HD content streaming and an integrated chat system. Other highlights include multitouch gestures functions, a feature which has long been available on the iPhone and iPod touch versions of the app, but not on the Facebook website itself. Scrolling through newsfeeds, swiping through albums and pinching to zoom adds value to the Facebook experience according to Facebook software engineer, Leon Dubinsky.

The long wait for the app is down to the fact that Facebook and Apple have been deadlocked in talks ever since the social network took issue with being integrated into Apple’s own social offering, Ping.

Facebook itself has highlighted certain features which enhance the new app. Video and photos can be viewed in full-screen. Captured media from the iPad camera can also be added directly to the news stream. Facebook also says that Facebook chat and gaming components will be major additions to the new experience.

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