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Mobile Apps

Facebook iPad app nearly ready, personally tested by Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook may be on the brink of launching a native app developed specifically for the iPad, with significant input from Mark Zuckerberg.

Facebook may finally have pulled its finger out and be about to release an iPad-optimised app, according to the New York Times.

Though quick off the mark with an iPhone app, which has been kept reasonably up to date since its launch in 2008, Facebook's dithering over a tablet-friendly version has allowed other developers to step in to fill the gap.

There's speculation that Facebook has been developing the iPad app for over a year, with Mark Zuckerberg having direct input on design decisions and features. The app is designed to do far more than the mobile Web version can, including shooting and uploading photos and videos directly from the iPad's built-in cameras.

The company may also be working on a tablet-friendly Web version of the site, which would complement rather than replace the native app. Both Twitter and Google have taken a similar stance, offering improvements to their native iOS apps and websites optimised for Apple devices.

Although Facebook has seen its user base decrease in number recently, mobile is a definite growth area for the company. It claims some 250 millon of 700 million members access the service from a mobile device. 

The relationship between Facebook and Apple may be a little frosty at the moment, thanks to Apple integrating Twitter into iOS 5 and leaving Facebook in the cold. Yet a deal may be in the offing that would see Apple promote the Facebook app in the App Store to ensure users aren't duped into downloading unofficial versions.

Earlier this week we heard rumours that Facebook may be developing its own photo-sharing app. It's possible this would be integrated into the main iPad app and then, hopefully, roll out in an improved iPhone version. However, some believe Facebook would like to bypass the restrictions imposed by Google and (particularly) Apple by launching rich HTML5 Web apps that users access directly from their mobile browser.