Facebook reportedly readying iPad app ... finally

Social network's first dedicated app for Apple's iPad will arrive more than a year after the tablet was unveiled

The Internet is abuzz with reports that Facebook will finally come out with a dedicated iPad app.

According to a report in the New York Times that cites unnamed sources, the world's largest social network is preparing to release a free app that's optimized for Apple's iPad tablet.

The app is said to enable users to shoot and upload photos and videos to Facebook directly from the iPad's built-in cameras. According to the blog posted on the newspaper's Web site last night, the app has "been in production" for about a year, and is now going through "the final stages of testing."

Unveiling the app a year after the release of the iPad has raised questions among analysts. Foremost among them: Why has it taken Facebook so long?

Zeus Kerravala, an analyst with Yankee Group, said the reason for the delay in offering a stong iPad app is unclear.

"It could be a 'there aren't any other [iPad app] options so why bother' attitude," he added. "Facebook has had an app that could run on the iPad but it's lame. It wasn't developed for the iPad -- it's an iPhone app running on the iPad. There is nothing iPad-unique about it."

Kerravala said the iPhone app doesn't take advantage of the larger size of the iPad's screen or its ease of use.

"I'm hoping the new app gives the ability to create a customized look and feel," he noted. "I'd like to see the screen used more smartly so you have the ability to do more on the same screen."

In a email to Computerworld, a Facebook spokesman said the company has "great relationship with Apple," and noted that the two companies worked together "to develop the very popular Facebook for iPhone application. With regards to a Facebook application for iPad, we have nothing to announce at this time, and don't comment on the development of future products."

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin, or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed . Her e-mail address is sgaudin@computerworld.com.

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