Long-Awaited Facebook iPad App Close to Launch

It's been a year in the making

Facebook launched an iPhone app as soon as Apple’s App Store was open for business in July 2008. But so far, the social network hasn’t released a dedicated iPad app—yet.

The New York Times reports that Facebook is finally planning to release an iPad app in the coming weeks. The free app, which has been “carefully designed and optimized for the tablet,” has been in the works for almost a year, going through several design iterations, and is now in the final stages of testing, according to sources. One Facebook employee said that Mark Zuckerberg has been very closely involved in the app’s development.

People who have seen the app told the Times that the app has a “slick design” tailored for the iPad’s touchscreen interface, and that developers have completely overhauled Facebook Chat and Facebook Groups to work specifically with the app. The app will also allow users to shoot and upload photos and videos directly from the iPad’s built-in cameras, just like the iPhone app. Apple will promote the new app by featuring it prominently in the App Store.

The new app could benefit both Facebook and Apple, says the Times. Facebook has been very successful with mobile apps—250 million of its 700 million users  access the social network on mobile devices—and a popular Facebook app could give Apple’s iPad an advantage over rival Android tablets.

Facebook is also planning to launch a better version of its website for the iPad at some point, although it’s supposed to “supplement” the app, not compete with it, one Facebook insider told the Times.

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