Facebook For iPad Exists (Sort Of)

A Facebook app for the iPad has to be close by now, right? It's even closer than anyone might have imagined.

A Facebook app for the iPad has to be close by now, right? As it turns out, it’s a lot closer than most people thought.

TechCrunch discovered the Facebook iPad app not in the App Store, but within the code of the social network’s iPhone app.

The good news: MG Siegler was able to confirm via a source that the app he discovered is the very same one Facebook intends to launch. The bad news: iPad users who want it right now will have to jailbreak their devices, according to an installation guide posted by The Next Web.

Siegler’s comments after using the app for a few hours were all positive, other than the jailbreaking issue:

In particular, the navigation system is great. Unlike the iPhone app — which even its creator is complaining about now as being stale — the Facebook iPad app uses a left-side menu system that can be accessed by the touch of a button or the flick of the iPad screen. The app also makes great use of the pop-overs (overlay menus) found in other iPad apps. When you flip the iPad horizontally, the list of your online friends appears, and you can chat with them as you do other things on Facebook. The photo-viewer aspect looks great — similar to the iPad’s own native Photos app. Places exists with a nice big map to show you all your friends around you.

I’ve confirmed with a source who had previously seen the Facebook iPad app that this is in fact the very app that they were planning to launch with. We’ll see if that timetable gets sped up now.

In a second TechCrunch post, which included several screen shots, Siegler wrote:

After months of downplaying the importance of having an iPad app, and instead playing up HTML5, Facebook has clearly spent some time working on this. At the same time, it is an HTML5-rich experience, with things like the News Feed being populated this way. But other things, like image uploads, simply cannot be done without native code at this time.

At the end of the day, would I use this app over the full website, which functions pretty well on the iPad already? Absolutely. I cannot wait for this app to actually launch.

And for those adventurous types who can’t wait, The Next Web’s installation guide, mentioned earlier, follows:

  • Ensure that you’ve got the latest update of Facebook’s iPhone app on your iPad.
  • Jailbreak your iPad. Yes, this is something that not everyone will be happy doing, seeing as it’s against Apple’s terms and conditions, and you do this at your own risk. However, as we recently reported, JailbreakMe is a really easy way to do it (at the moment), and you can always reverse the process by reverting to your iTunes backup of your device.
  • JailBreaking via JailBreakMe will install the Cydia app store on your iPad. For the purposes of this exercise, it doesn’t matter which version of the App Store you install (you’re given three options aimed at different types of users).
  • In Cydia, search for the iFile app and install it.
  • Open iFile and navigate to var > mobile > applications > directory.
  • Open the iFile settings using the cog wheel icon at the bottom of the screen and switch “Application Names” to “on.”
  • This will allow you to see which folders relate to which apps. Find the Facebook folder and open it. Inside that, open Facebook.app.
  • Find the “Info.plist” file and tap on it. Choose “Property List Viewer.”
  • Find the “UIDeviceFamily” option and select it.
  • Change the value here from “1” to “2” and tap “Done.”
  • Reboot your iPad and then open the Facebook app.

Readers: Will you follow the directions above and jailbreak your iPadsto get a piece of the new Facebook app, or, since you’ve waited this long already, will you simply hold off for the official rollout of Facebook for iPad?

Screen shots courtesy of TechCrunch