Facebook's iPad app launching with new iPhone, report says

Facebook's long-rumored native tablet application is now said to be launching in conjunction with Apple's rumored iPhone 5 launch event next week, a new report claims.

The long wait for Facebook's iPad app could coincide with the long wait for Apple's next iPhone, a new report claims.

Citing anonymous sources, Mashable today says Facebook plans to release its iPad app at an event held next week by Apple--the same rumored event that is expected to bring the next version of the iPhone, and release of iCloud and iOS 5.

Mashable's report follows one from Business Insider earlier today about the recent departure of Jeff Verkoeyen from Facebook to Google, with Verkoeyen writing (and later redacting) on his personal blog that development of an Apple iPad-native application actually wrapped up in May.

So why haven't we seen it yet? Verkoeyen said that while he was at Facebook, the company just continued to push back its release.

A high-profile report in The New York Times in June said that Facebook was "weeks" away from releasing an application for Apple's iPad, with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg being "heavily invested in the process." The very same day, a report from TechCrunch said Facebook's tablet plans were less about a native app versus something dubbed Project Spartan, an HTML5-based version of the site that would work on both phones and tablets--apps and games included. Nonetheless, TechCrunch in late July discovered that the iPhone version of Facebook's app could be tweaked to run natively on the iPad with a special tablet UI, something the company later blocked.

At Facebook's F8 developer conference last week, the company unveiled a new way to view user profile information along with new developer tools to help users share and discover that information, but there was no mention or release of a native app.

To add to some of the intrigue is the company's on the record statements about the iPad. During a press event focusing on enhancements to the company's mobile efforts last November, Zuckerberg claimed the iPad was not a mobile device, with the company's mobile VP Erik Tseng quickly following up that the company was in the process of figuring out where tablets fit into its strategy. In an interview with CNBC last week, Zuckerberg then said the company would likely be making an iPad app.

Facebook declined to comment on either of today's reports.

Updated at 3:49 p.m. PT with Facebook comment.

 

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