It took months of waiting, a couple of false starts and a whole lot of speculation, but Facebook has finally launched an iPad app. However, the upgrade is much more than a tablet-friendly version of the website. Facebook is also carrying over its developer platform to mobile. This means that all of the slick new class of Facebook apps that Mark Zuckerberg announced a couple of weeks ago at the f8 developers conference will be more integrated into the mobile experience. The specific details are a little bit confusing at first as Facebook is spoon-feeding the functionality to users, but we can already tell: Facebook is starting to function like an independent mobile operating system. Let's take a tour.
The iPad App
The look and feel of the new Facebook iPad app shouldn't surprise anybody who's been keeping up with the rumors of its existence. MG Siegler at TechCrunch offered a behind-the-scenes tour of a leaked developer version back in July, and the actual app doesn't look all that different. As we pointed out then, it's a lot like Twitter's iPad app. There's a navigation bar on the left side of the screen that lets you toggle between Facebook's main features like the News Feed and Groups; on the righthand side is the now-familiar Chat bar; the shortcuts to Requests, Messages and Notifications are still on the top.