Facebook is reportedly readying an iPad app, despite Mark Zuckerberg’s claims late last year that the iPad isn’t a mobile device and as such doesn’t require one. According to the NYTimes‘ sources, even while Zuckerberg was dismissing the prospect, work on the app was underway by Facebook’s engineers: now in the final stages of testing, it’s expected to hit the iPad 2 within the coming weeks.
Development of the Facebook app for iPad has apparently been going on for almost a year, with Zuckerberg heavily involved in design decisions. That lengthy and considered gestation has paid off, according to the sources. “The photo and video experience is amazing, offering full resolution and full-screen images” they claim.
Among the functionality is believed to be support for the iPad 2’s dual cameras, with users able to shoot photos and video and upload them directly to Facebook. Both Facebook Chat and Facebook Groups features have been “overhauled”, and the UI modified from that of the social network’s existing iPhone app to suit the larger display of the slate. The mobile web version of Facebook is also expected to see a refresh “to supplement these experiences” on the iPad, iPhone and other native mobile apps.
Facebook has declined to comment on specifics, with a spokesperson saying that “We have a great relationship with Apple that is exemplified by our iPhone application, but with regards to an iPad application we have nothing to announce now, and cannot comment on future Facebook products.” Apple declined to comment. Tensions between the two companies are rumored to be high, with the end result being that Apple opted to bake native Twitter support into iOS 5 rather than Facebook support.
Nonetheless, Apple is expected to feature the Facebook for iPad app, and promote it heavily. Meanwhile, the social network is tipped to be readying “Project Spartan,” a browser-based app distribution platform using HTML5 software to bypass the official App Store.