Last week, I watched with bated breath as Mark Zuckerberg introduced new Facebook features at the company’s f8 conference. I didn’t really care about the changes to Facebook itself, but was instead hoping for a “one more thing” in the form of the company’s official iPad app. But, despite our confirmed knowledge of its existence, it didn’t come. And now its developer has left Facebook because of the delays in getting it to market.
Jeff Verkoeyen, the lead engineer on the Facebook iPad app project during its eight months of development, wrote a blog post Monday (via TechCrunch) explaining a bit about the app’s trajectory and how it prompted his decision to leave Facebook for Google.
The iPad app that TechCrunch revealed to the world back in July has actually been “feature-complete” and essentially ready for release since May, when it was originally intended to launch. After that deadline passed, its unveiling was pushed back and repeatedly delayed throughout the summer, for “reasons [Verkoeyen] won’t go into details” about.
Those reasons, according to TechCrunch, have to do with the rocky relationship between Apple and Facebook. The two had a somewhat public row over Facebook integration with Apple’s music social networking service Ping, and deep integration with iOS 5 was also reportedly planned and then scrapped. Both had to do with terms proposed by Facebook that Apple reportedly couldn’t swallow.
Facebook’s official app on the iPad would be great for both companies. Facebook would get more access to a growing mobile market, an area where it still doesn’t dominate nearly as much as either Google or Apple, and Apple would get another marquee app that would no doubt be a huge hit with iOS users. But even if the troubles between the two companies that have kept the Facebook iPad app out of the App Store until now are resolved, it seems unlikely that we’ll see a release soon, since the app would now have to be revised according to all the changes the social network has undergone in recent months.