It’s a pretty exciting few weeks for iOS users with the announcement and launch of the iPhone 4S, the imminent launch of iOS 5 and iCloud and now, the new Facebook app for iPhone and iPad has been released on the App Store. While it’s been a long time coming, it’s still gratifying to finally see a dedicated app for the iPad and it’s actually rather good.
The app itself looks really cool, using the size of the iPad screen to great effect. It’s really awesome to fire up the app and see the Facebook logo staring at you from a big sea of blue. Thankfully, though, the logo only stays there for a second before you are into the good stuff. Facebook has obviously thought long and hard about the best way to get Facebook functionality onto the iPad and the app reflects this. Each ‘story’ in the News Feed is given an appropriate amount of space and is very easy to read.
What’s different from the website, is that when the sidebar logo is tapped, the main screen slides across to reveal the sidebar with all the shortcuts to messages, news feed, events and friends etc. The messages section of the app is particularly good, looking much like a simplified mail client rather than the text message format of iMessage. You can also access your messages and notifications from the news feed via a shortcut button. The sidebar also lets you play with your account settings, which seems to be a lot easier on the iPad than it is on the website.
Perhaps the most important parts, the news feed and friends section look much like they do on the website which means that they are well designed and easy to read. In this app, unlike Friendly for Facebook, tapping the comments opens a sliding bar on the right side of the screen which is unobtrusive and doesn’t extend the news feed by several feet if there’s a lot of comments. A nice touch.
Personally, my favorite thing about the app is that it makes Facebook ‘feel’ more responsive and snappier than the website. I know that may seem silly comparing an app to a webpage, and I’m not sure if it’s because the app view is cleaner, it just seems to fit the iPad particularly well. You could possibly say that of any Facebook app, third party or otherwise, but in this case, Facebook have done a really great job.
The app is free on the App Store now and it’s been worth the wait. Like!