Facebook has launched its first app dedicated to Apple’s increasingly popular iPad tablet, following delays over clashes with Apple’s own music services. The new free download, available from Apple's App Store, was described on the company’s blog as more “immersive” than its previous offerings, and offers an improved interface for touchscreens. Previous attempts by Facebook to launch an iPad app had become mired in negotiations with Apple, which has its own music social network called Ping.
As in Facebook’s recent updates to its website, timeline, photos and videos are given increased prominence in the app, along with games and chat features.
The mobile website, m.facebook.com, and the iPhone app have also been updated, but Android tablets, which use Google's rival operating system, are now left without a fully-fledged Facebook application.
Leon Dubinsky, a software engineer at the social network, said that the app had been designed to create a “fun” experience on the tablet and highlighted the improved use of multitouch gestures. Previously Facebook has encouraged people to use touch.facebook.com, but the web interface does not offer such advanced features.
“Use your fingertips to scroll through your News Feed. Give the screen a swipe to page through albums. Pinch a picture to zoom in,” wrote Dubinsky. “Your games, apps, groups and lists are in the left-hand menu, so you don't have to dig around to find the stuff you use most.
"And your messages and notifications are at the top of every screen, so you can respond to friends and keep up with important updates - without losing your place.”