A native Facebook app for iPad was rumored to be in the works for months and numerous blogs have reported it would launch soon, even big newspapers such as the New York Times. Facebook’s “awesome launch” has come and gone, they integrated with Skype but left millions of iPad fans disappointed with the never-explained absence of iPad functionality. And now, slim hopes have been dashed further by Facebook engineer Jeff Verkoeyen who pulled a Joe Hewitt.
The engineer quit for Google to work on back-end stuff for Android. He blogged about his frustration that Facebook wouldn’t release the iPad app he’s been working on since January of this year. According to Business Insider, the app “has been basically done for months” and Verkoeyen “put a ton of time into it:
It was feature-complete back in May, he writes, but Facebook kept pushing its release out another two weeks, then another. Now, he thinks it “may never be released.”
Of course, the iPad app was in an old Facebook for iOS build but they took it out, most likely because Facebook wants folks to use the web interface. Besides, Facebook has never been strong in mobile.
Verkoeyen later reached out to Business Insider saying he updated his blog post to remove details about the iPad app. “It’s no reflection on Facebook as a company, which is an incredible place to work,” he said of the post. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a CNBC interview that Facebook would probably, someday, release an iPad app.
You could have enabled the native Facebook app on iPad with this Cydia tweak. The native iPad app was also discovered in Facebook for iPhone. Unfortunately, Facebook has removed those in later updates. Really, why have a guy develop an iPad app that you never intended on releasing in the first place? Could it be that there is no place left in Facebook’s heart for Apple as the social networking site goes to bed with big media? Or perhaps it’s because of project Spartan, an HTML5 web app store for Facebook apps that would bypass Apple’s App Store and run in any web browser? TechCrunch begs to differ. In an analysis piece, the publication basically wraps up by saying that Apple and Facebook – contrary to the popular belief – may be jointly working on project Spartan:
There isn’t much to go on here just yet, but we’ve been hearing that Facebook and Apple may now be working together on the HTML5 project. Maybe it’s because Apple hates Google that much, or maybe it’s because they realize that HTML5 apps are still no real threat to the native app movement. Or maybe they want Facebook’s wildly popular social games to run inside of Facebook’s apps — including the iPad app. If this is indeed the case, negotiations may still be underway. That could be why we haven’t seen either Spartan or the iPad app yet, even though both are done.
It is an interesting proposition but it remains unclear why would Apple help Facebook gain popularity on other platforms by working with them on a brand new HTML5 app platform. It would be dumb of Apple to turn a blind eye to the fact that such a deal would benefit only Facebook while posing a direct threat to the App Store model.