After what seems like forever, Facebook has finally released an app specifically for the iPad.
Until now, you could run the Facebook for iPhone app on your iPad, but it was designed for a small screen, so despite the iPad’s larger display real estate, a small Facebook window is all you got. The newly released iPad version fills the screen and makes following your "friends" a much friendlier experience.
Concerning features, the app is similar to its iPhone predecessor. You can do most of what you’re used to doing on Facebook, including watching your feed, checking messages, seeing who’s nearby, getting a list of events, and seeing a list of your friends, pages and apps. You can post status updates and photos, and “Check In” your location as well.
Along the top of the screen you’ll see icons that reveal a navigation bar, list Friend Requests, show Messages and display Notifications. The navigation bar, which can also be revealed by swiping your screen to the right, offers a convenient way to organize most of the same Favorites, Pages and Apps that you see on the left edge of your Facebook page on the Web. You also get access to your Account and Privacy settings.
One of the new features of the Facebook iPad app, which is also compatible with the iPhone, is the ability to display “Facebook Apps,” those apps you can install within Facebook itself. Before you get too excited, the number of apps it can display is limited. Of the five basic apps in our account that appear in the Web interface, only two are displayed on the iPad, and the Music app is not one of them, so your mileage may vary.
The most compelling reasons to use the app are for its ability to display hi-res photos (you can even take photos and HD video from inside the app), chat with friends (much easier to type on the larger keyboard, and you can even video chat), and, of course, play games (always better on a bigger screen). If you happen to have an AirPlay compatible device, like an Apple TV, you’ll love the ability to share images and videos from your iPad to the device. Of course, the best reason to install the app is to apply the ease of use and touch screen capability that the iPad offers to your Facebook content.
Since the Facebook app for iPad is free, if you use Facebook, you’ll want to install this app. Keep in mind though, Facebook calls this app “the best of Facebook” for a reason, it includes the features you use the most, but it doesn’t include everything. While those of you with big fingers will find it immensely easier to navigate Facebook with this app as opposed to the Web interface on the iPad, it’s a little too soon to be unplugging your computer, you’ll still need it for those features that aren’t yet mobile friendly.