The long-awaited Facebook app for iPad has finally hit the App Store, as tablet fans rejoice en masse! Up until this point, many iPad users had relied on third-party applications to access the incredibly popular social networking network. The version appears to be very similar to a leak of the application that first surfaced in July, though some new features are included, chief among them being Facebook games compatibility.
When Facebook for iPad is first booted up, users will notice the navigation bar on the left side of the screen. This makes it easy to view things like one’s News Feed and Messages. The iPad makes for a spectacular viewing experience for photos, which is one of the primary areas Facebook has focused on with the release. The new app also supports chat features, making it easy for Facebook users to stay in touch with their friends on the go.
In addition to the iPad release, Facebook announced this week that it will now support the playing of social games on mobile platforms of the popular service. Users will now receive notifications on their smartphones, notifying them of the actions of their friends in games they are playing, much like the user experience on a desktop computer. Gamers will also be able to purchase and use Facebook Credits on their mobile games, depending on which platform is being utilized.
Facebook games have had a notoriously bumpy road on mobile devices, as many of them rely on technologies like Adobe Flash, which Apple famously does not support on its iOS devices. Many developers have taken to developing stand alone versions of the games, which can be installed on the iOS device. In turn, when a user receives a notification in Facebook about something taking place in the game, they can click that notification and will be redirected to the native application. In the event that the application for that game is not presently installed, they will be given the opportunity to do so through the App Store directly on their device.
One major area of conflict between Facebook and Apple was the payment system used for processing Facebook Credits. As Apple does not allow its app developers to process payments outside of the Apple system, Facebook Credits will not be able to purchased through the iPad or iPhone. Instead, currency will be purchased through the Apple system. Facebook has admitted that this does pose some consistency issues across the many different platforms running Facebook, but Apple refused to budge on this point.
In addition to gaming capabilities, the Facebook for iPad application also supports Air Play technology. This means that videos viewed on Facebook can be beamed to Apple TV and in turn viewed on the user’s home television set. Facebook has also updated the iPhone application, which now features a new requests dialogue for notifications and support for in-app payments. Full screen videos can also be watched in HD on the new iPad application.