- Use Facebook’s web interface through Safari – This solution does use up one of the nine Safari tabs available and the browser does take up some available screen real estate.
- Use the iPhone version of the app – Using the existing iPhone app (normally in 2X mode – screen doubling for iPhone specific applications) is OK, but the graphics aren’t very sharp and the interface feels a bit like a toy.
- Use third party Facebook applications like Friendly or Venus – I used third party applications for quite a while accessing Facebook. The real issue with these applications is that as Facebook evolves, these applications are slow to roll out changes to properly support new features and functionality.
Enter Facebook for the iPad.
I have used the application for an hour or two already. It is very well designed and appears to have most of the functionality that I regularly use close at hand. The one thing that took a bit of searching to find is the list of upcoming birthdays. It is a bit buried in a second level under Events.
While researching this story, I noticed something that is quite amazing. Here is the Customer Rating of the Facebook app from iTunes, as of this morning:
Almost 2 million people have taken the time to rate this application! Since the iPad version was just released, most of these must have been for the previous iPhone version, but still, this is an amazing statistic. It looks as though roughly 75% of those who have tried it gave it 5 stars. I imagine that very positive customer ratings will continue to pour in.
On the downside, this application installed fine on my iPad. I did run into some trouble upgrading my wife’s iPad though. She had the previous version of the app, the iPhone version, up and running. The initial install succeeded, but the new version would exit immediately upon launch. I fiddled with the device for about 10 minutes before I got it to install and function properly. The page in iTunes for this application does mention the problem which does require completely removing the application and reinstalling a fresh copy. I needed to do this twice (or I wasn’t patient enough the first time) to get it to install correctly.
Although not serious, I did also stumble across one application bug that is a bit annoying. I charge my iPad in the dock with the keyboard. When docked, the send button does not appear that allows you to post comments and no key would post the message. To post, I had to remove the iPad from the dock. The send key immediately appeared on the screen which allowed me to post. I believe I am in a very small number of users who actually use the docking accessory.
For you iPad-toting Facebook fans out there, I highly recommend adding this app to your device. It is very well done and demonstrates the elegance of what can be done with the iOS platform.