Facebook will launch its long-awaited iPad app at Apple’s iPhone 5 launch event on Oct. 4, Mashable has learned. In addition to the iPad app, Facebook is also expected to release a revamped version of its iPhone app and may unveil an HTML5-based mobile app marketplace.
The Facebook iPad app, which leaked earlier this year, has been in limbo at Facebook for the past few months. That much was made clear in a blog post from former Facebook engineer Jeff Verkoeyen. In that post, he revealed that he left the company (for Google) partially because Facebook has been sitting on the completed app since May.
The problem, according to two sources familiar with the situation, has been a combination of timing and a strained relationship with Apple. It’s no secret that the two companies have been at odds over various issues during the past two years. For example, the social network pulled the plug on Facebook Connect in Ping because Apple didn’t give Facebook any warning about the feature, which would have eaten a great deal of bandwidth on Facebook’s side.
We’ve also heard whispers that Facebook was supposed to be integrated into iOS. This was meant to happen years ago, but disagreements on both sides eventually led to Apple integrating Twitter into iOS 5.
The relationship between the two technology giants is warming up though, thanks to shared goals (bringing down Google) and the simple fact that Facebook and Apple may need each other. The former doesn’t have a mobile platform while Apple doesn’t have a social platform. The culmination of this renewed friendship is to be the launch of Facebook for iPad at Apple’s iPhone 5 media event.
At this event, our sources also expect Facebook to unveil a new version of Facebook for the iPhone with design and speed improvements that mimic the iPad app.
One other thing: Facebook has been working on a project to bring the Facebook Platform to mobile devices. The project, which has been labeled as “Project Spartan” by some (a name not used internally at Facebook, according to one of our sources), is designed to be a platform where developers can bring their Facebook apps to mobile devices via an HTML5 platform.
What we’re hearing is that Apple is actually working with Facebook on perfecting the HTML5 platform. It could even launch at Apple’s upcoming iPhone event, though our sources wouldn’t commit to a specific launch date for the platform. Facebook decided not to launch it at f8, as it didn’t want to water down the announcement of the new Facebook Open Graph and Timeline.
When we said last week that Facebook would be profoundly changed, we weren’t just referring to the new Facebook Open Graph and the “frictionless sharing” touted by Mark Zuckerberg. We were also talking about its secretive effort to become a mobile platform for the social web. And thanks to Apple, it looks like that effort is about to come to fruition.
We’ve reached out to Apple and Facebook for comment.
Mashable’s Jennifer Van Grove contributed to this report.
Facebook for iPad: Leaked Screenshots
Here are the leaked screenshots from earlier this year of the Facebook for iPad app.
The Facebook icon looks the same. Note the Cydia and iFile icons. Right now, in order to access Facebook for iPad, you need to be running a jailbroken iPad 1 or iPad 2.
The default screen is the Facebook News Feed.
News Feed Options
You can select various filters for the app, just like in Facebook on the desktop.
Sliding the main window to the right reveals an enhanced Facebook sidebar. This interaction, which is similar to Twitter for iPad, provides access to Groups, Events, Places and Messages.
In landscape mode, the panel appears alongside the elongated news feed if swiped to the right.
Sharing a status update works as expected. Tapping on the lock icon shows you visibility options.
Photo albums are displayed in a grid-like manner, using the same styling Apple uses in its Photos app.
You can create a new album or add photos from your device to an existing album.
Notifications are accessible throughout the app.
Facebook Chat works on the iPad. Users can communicate iChat style through the panel on the right.
Facebook Chat works quite well, but note the lack of hyperlink support.
Like or Comment
A modal window gives an option to "Like" or comment on a post or status update.
Places Check In
Who says the iPad isn't mobile! Facebook Places is supported in the app.
Places Map view
Places Friends View
Groups can be accessed from the side panel.
User Wall Interactions
In landscape mode, comments and likes on a status update or wall post appear in the right hand panel.
Viewing Comments on a Photo
Replying to Comments
To log out, tap the arrow underneath your name in the left side panel.
Facebook for iPad supports multiple accounts, which is great for users who share an iPad with other family members.
Remove an Account
To remove an account, tap and hold the profile photo and then tap on the "X."
Remove Account Options
When an account is removed, all the information about it is wiped off of the device as well.