Facebook for iPad to Debut at Apple's iPhone 5 Event


Facebook is expected to unveil its long-awaited social networking application for Apple's (NAS: AAPL) iPad tablet during Apple's iPhone 5 launch event on Oct. 4. Mashable reports Facebook may also roll out a revamped version of its iPhone application, as well as an HTML5-based mobile app marketplace.

The Mashable report follows hours after Facebook staff developer Jeff Verkoeyen resigned his position due in large part to the social networking giant's failure to release the iPad app before now. Verkoeyen (who is joining Google (NAS: GOOG) ) spearheaded development of Facebook for iPad, working on the project for eight months before delivering a feature-complete edition of the product in May 2011. TechCrunch reported on a leaked version soon after, and in mid-June, The New York Times reported the final product was poised for imminent rollout, noting features including a user experience tailored for the iPad's touchscreen interface, revamped Facebook Chat and Facebook Groups, and new full-screen photo and video-sharing tools.

"For reasons I won't go into, details on the app was repeatedly delayed throughout the summer," Verkoeyen writes on his blog. "It is now nearly 5 months since the app was feature complete, and I haven't seen it released except for when the project was leaked on TechCrunch. Needless to say this was a frustrating experience for me. The experience of working on this app was a large contribution to the reasons why I left Facebook, though that doesn't mean it wasn't a difficult decision."

TechCrunch reports the delays are the result of friction between Facebook and Apple dating back to the launch of Apple's Ping social music network -- Facebook was originally slated to be part of Ping's launch, but halted full integration at the last minute. Months later, after Apple and Facebook entered negotiations to introduce deep Facebook social networking integration into its forthcoming iOS 5 mobile operating system update, Apple reversed course and partnered with Twitter instead.

In June, TechCrunch reported on the existence of the so-called Project Spartan, an HTML5-based mobile platform optimized for Apple's iPhone and iPad but designed to circumvent the App Store distribution channel, giving Facebook far greater control over the user experience. The mobile web solution will include a drop-down menu featuring various Facebook and partner applications -- clicking an app loads it from the appropriate server, complete with a Facebook wrapper that integrates key social media functions. More than 80 outside developers are said to be teaming with Facebook on the initiative.

However, TechCrunch is now reporting that Apple and Facebook have patched up their differences and are even working together on Project Spartan, which appears to match up with Mashable's report.

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