iPad users have been waiting quite awhile for a native Facebook app. It seemed strange that iPhone had it, but the larger-screened mobile device was left out in the cold. It’s not that there weren’t ways around it, but they weren’t the best of solutions. There were several other beautiful apps out there, but none of them were everything that the Facebook on iPad experience should be. It was also accessible through Safari, but it still wasn’t what it should be.
Coinciding with the release of iOS 5, a native Facebook app has finally been released. It was worth the wait. It’s beautiful and does nearly everything it should. There are only a few minor things left out, and hopefully these will be eliminated in future revisions.
After signing in to your Facebook profile, it gives you a list in a sidebar with all of the different Facebook destinations. Listed there is your own Profile, News Feed, Messages, Friends, Pages, Groups, Apps, and access to your account.
Of special note here is the Friends list. While you get a quick listing in regular Facebook with a small profile picture next to the name, in the app you get large pictures, allowing you to find your friends by their face instead of their name. When you have an iPad that shows such beautiful graphics, it only makes sense to be able to view everything as large and beautiful as you can. Also of particular interest to many users is the ability to do chat, something not available through Safari on iPad, and only in a few third party apps.
The profile page for yourself, as well as each of the people on your Friends list, is simple and clean. Listed on the left, below the profile picture, is the Wall, Info, Photo, and Friends of the person listed. It’s concise. The wall includes all of the mentions, as well as all the status updates. Info includes most of the information that is in the info on regular Facebook. Missing is that short blurb that appears at the top of the Wall that includes work and education info. One option not included in this mobile app is the ability to remove items from your wall you don’t wish to be included. That has to be done through a browser still. Photo includes full page photos. Tagging, Comments, and Likes are included, but conspicuously missing are the captions for the photos. Along the top of the Wall are quick links to post an update, a photo, or check-in with a location update.
Viewing the Likes and Comments of a post brings up an attractive sidebar where you can add your own comment in as well. For users who use the iPad as a standalone, it’s all right there for them. However, for those who use a wireless keyboard, or combination keyboard/stand, the Enter key doesn’t work for posting a reply. The keyboard has to be shut off and the iOS keypad brought up in order to find the “Send” button. It’s not a difficult workaround at all, but just something to be added to a “wish list.”
Adding pictures is done easily through the app. You can do it one of two ways. The first is to use the option to add photos at the top of your wall. It allows you to take a photo at that point or choose one from your library. You may then add a caption and/or tags, or choose the appropriate audience. Additionally, you can navigate to the album you want the photo added to, then go through all the same options.
This is a beautiful app and seems to be meant for viewing and quick updates. It’s clean and beautiful, just like the other apps in iOS. That said, if they just tweaked a little, and added those few little items mentioned, it would be the perfect Facebook app instead of just the most perfect.