The iPad may not be a mobile device in the opinion of Mark Zuckerberg, but it’s a big enough force to be reckoned with that Facebook may be gearing up to release a native iPad application on the App Store next week. Reports surfaced at Reuters today that the company’s Seattle based engineering office may be putting the final touches on the app, and they’re expecting to launch “something awesome” according to Zuckerberg.
Considering a booming 500 million people are currently active on the website, it should come as no surprise that the Facebook iPhone application has consistently been in Apple’s top application listing on the App Store since its release in the summer of 2008. Adding fuel to the fire, Facebook updated its iPhone application to version 3.4.3 yesterday, giving users access to a new navigation menu in landscape mode. Changes have been made, and it could be that Facebook is just preparing for the iPad release. The majority of the 3.4.3 update was for tweaks and bug fixes according to the release notes on the App Store.
Of course, Facebook spokespeople have refused to elaborate on the comments made by Zuckerberg today, so speculation will continue through the upcoming long weekend.
Interestingly enough, Google+ (pronounced Google Plus) went live yesterday, to much fanfare on the Internet, despite being in invite-only beta mode. According to Vic Gundotra, Senior VP of Social at Google, Google+ invites were disabled because of ‘insane demand’ late last night, but reports have come in that the invites seem to be getting turned on and off at random for some users. What’s the parallel I’m trying to make here? Well, now would be the perfect time to get people talking about Facebook again, and a native iPad app would certainly get Facebook back in the press. The biggest social network being available on the biggest tablet on the market is obviously big news. Google+ could very well turn into a real threat to Facebook, as much as it could be a dud (like Wave and Buzz), but right now there’s an awful lot of tech journalists hanging out over on Google+, and that’s not a good thing for Facebook.