Facebook updates iPhone app to 3.5, iPad still out in the cold

Facebook has released version 3.5 of their iPhone app, which is sadly, still only an iPhone app. The App Store page lists several improvements and updates, like fixes for a “number of chat bugs,” along with new privacy controls to match the website, and a “new design” for posting on walls.

I started writing this article yesterday when it was released, but I wanted to give myself a chance to play with it and actually see some of the changes that were put in place, and some of them are starting to look VERY familiar.

First, let me tell you that 3.5 is by far the crashiest edition of the Facebook app I’ve used to date. Could be that I’m running iOS beta, but I can’t get the app to start successfully the first time, usually having to kill it at least twice before it will start up properly. This makes for a grumpy Corey when trying to check in to Cafe Rio on his lunch break, but no matter.

The first change I noticed was the Profile display. It’s been modified to more closely match the website, in that it shows you basic school and employment information on the initial view like you see above, which is nice. What REALLY caught my eye, and was also pointed out by Twitter’s mobile designer Bryan Haggerty, was the new status update/photo upload/check-in view.

Really, Facebook? Stealin’ other apps’ designs? Seriously, though! It’s nearly identical! … You don’t see it, do you? Fine, check out the side-by-side that Bryan posted.

The resemblance is far more than uncanny. I guess one could say that great UI is contagious, but there comes a point when… yeah. It just kind of blew my mind, that’s all.

Anyway, the ability to tag friends in your status makes me cheery. I’d like to be able to do it in comments, but we’re off to a good start. Aside from those changes, there are quite a few bug fixes in this release, particularly in the photo viewer and the notifications viewer, which are very welcome, notably that when loading a single picture fails, it doesn’t break viewing the rest of the album, and comments on photos and other posts display remarkably faster, something that always bothered me.

Grumpy as I am that I STILL cannot install a native Facebook client on my iPad that’s actually created by Facebook, overall I’m pretty stoked about this update. I’ll be happy for 3.5.1, which will hopefully bring an end to all this crashiness, but betas can’t be choosers, to coin a phrase. ;)

Have you noticed anything different, annoying or weird with the new Facebook app? Let us know in the comments, I’d love to hear what others have noticed. For now, I’m going to go back to tagging all my friends in photos of rage comics so they get massive notification spam. Oh, the joys of being a troll.

Image Credit: Bryan Haggerty

I'm a full-time web developer, part-time hacker and a closet Apple Fanboy. I switched from Windows about 5 years ago, and I only look back when distant relatives need tech support. If I don't have an Apple product on my… Full Bio