Facebook’s iPad (s aapl) app is no longer mere rumor and speculation. Twitter user @AeroEchelon discovered that the full code for an iPad version of the app resides in the latest Facebook for iPhone update (which means Facebook will likely make the app universal instead of releasing a separate, iPad-only version), and TechCrunch got the app up and running on an actual iPad device. It took them awhile, but it looks like the social network will soon set things right for its iPad-toting users.
The lack of a proper native iPad client for Facebook has been a glaring absence ever since Apple launched the device last year. In the time between then and now, countless Facebook clients created by third-party developers have sprung up on the App Store, including current pack leader MyPad (which also provides access to Twitter, thanks to a recent update), but there is still nothing from Zuckerberg and co. at Facebook HQ, except for a response to a question that made it seem like the network’s website might be all iPad users could hope for.
I mentioned MyPad, and if you’re looking for an example of how the new app will work, that might be a good place to start (you can actually get the official version running on your device, but not without jailbreaking it first). Like MyPad, Facebook for iPad features a navigation column on the right with a dark background that provides you access to your messages, news feed, photos and more. But it also features a lot of elements borrowed from the site’s home page and a photos interface that looks like the native iPad Photos app. Other highlights include the frequent appearance of contextual pop-up menus, which should make interacting with your shared content and navigating your network quite iPad-friendly, and a Places section that displays a full Google map with visuals to go with your list of check-ins, all on one screen.
My own Facebook use dropped off considerably once I started using my iPad more and my MacBook less, which basically means I’ve used it sparingly for about a year and a half now. I’m not sure whether the delay of a native iPad app is because Facebook thought it could get by on its web presence alone or because it took the company this long to get it right. Whatever the reason for the lengthy oversight, the good news for users and Facebook alike is that iPad support is now likely only an update away.