After long wait, Facebook set to release iPad app

Posted Oct. 10, 2011, at 6:37 p.m.

NEW YORK — One of the big, enduring questions of the technology world: “When will iPad users get their very own Facebook app?”

That question was answered Monday, as Facebook said it was set to release an updated version of its iPhone application, one that’s also designed to fill out the larger screen of the iPad.

The lack of an iPad app for the most popular social network in the world has confounded users, ever since Apple launched its tablet computer a year and a half ago. Third-party developers have made money selling their own apps that show Facebook pages.

Bret Taylor, the chief technology officer of Facebook, said in an interview Monday that “we’re releasing it now because it’s done.”

Two weeks ago, Facebook engineer Jeff Verkoeyen announced on his personal blog that he was leaving to take a job with Google, and that the iPad app he had worked on was nearly complete in May. It was then “repeatedly delayed through the summer,” he said, without revealing exactly why.

Rumors have swirled that Apple and Facebook were in talks about deepening the integration of the social network into the system software of the iPhone and iPad. But Apple’s updated system software, announced this summer, will feature integration with Twitter, another social networking service, rather than Facebook. That will make it easier to tweet from other applications besides Twitter’s.

Like the previous Facebook app for the iPhone, the new “universal” iPhone and iPad app is free.

The updated Facebook app deals with one shortcoming of the old iPhone app, which didn’t play well with apps developed for Facebook’s website, including popular games like “Words with Friends”: They simply weren’t available.

In the new iPhone and iPad app, some applications developed for Facebook will work.

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