App of the Week: Facebook for iPad

iPad users rejoice as Facebook finally releases an official ‘Facebook for iPad’ app allowing direct access to the social networking site.

<--break->Calls for an official version of the Facebook app for iPad have been around for over 18 months, with those wishing to access the site forced to use the Safari web browser or another third-party alternatives.

Owners of the iPhone and iPod Touch who have the latest version of the Facebook app will already be familiar with the iPad app interface, bringing all iDevices increasingly in-line with the look of the website.

The notifications, requests and chat menus are all easily accessible from the top of the screen just as you find it on the website. The right-hand menu can be brought into view with a quick sideways swipe which allows for easy transitions between profile pages, events and friends lists.

For most of its features it would appear that Facebook is eager to unify all their products under one increasingly consistent interface, but, it is clear some aspects of this new user interface have not received the same attention to details as others.

This is most apparent when accessing the messages section, which can be done through a small drop-down menu at the top as well as from the side menu. Depending on the chosen rotation of the iPad, you can easily find yourself in a situation with two different messaging utilities open at the same time, both of which are awkwardly small to type in.

Understandably this first build of the application is still prone to bugs, many of which irritatingly close the app and throw the user back to the home screen. Given the frequency with which the iPhone app is updated it is unlikely that these issues will go unseen to for too long.

There are definitely some conflicts within the app which stem from the design’s dual goals of being both a copy of the website and an easy mobile device for quick and easy access to Facebook, however, these are rarely enough to cause more than slight annoyance.

For many who have hoped for a ‘Facebook for iPad’ app since April 2010, its release will be a welcome reprieve from the wide selection of poor alternatives.

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