Let me get this out there: I do not like jailbreaking. I tend to stay away from it like a cat avoiding water.
But when I heard that Facebook hid some sort of easter egg in its iPhone application, I decided to take the plunge. How bad could it be? I figured the worst case scenario would be restoring the iPad’s software in iTunes.
Why jailbreak? Well, the easter egg in question was actually Facebook’s long awaited Facebook for iPad app. It turned out that by changing a number in the app’s build, it converts to the iPad version. Pretty cool, no?
If you want to test it out for yourself, there are plenty of guides online. And quoting the ever-wise J.K. Rowling: ” If you have to ask, you will never know. If you know, you need only ask.” (hint)
Now let’s get down to what’s important: the app itself.
It could be the iPad’s bigger screen but the app feels more natural on it compared to the iPhone and similarly to the Twitter app, whenever you switch between landscape and portrait orientations, the app changes its layout accordingly. Not groundbreaking, obviously, but the only thing that changes w/ the iPhone version is the 180 degree switch.
Always present on the bar on top are four different buttons: the first one from the left opens up a sidebar on the left which has quick shortcuts to your news feed, profile, messages, events, places, friend list, photos, as well as some of the groups you joined or were forced to join (what’s up with that by the way?).
The second one opens up a friend request list. The third one opens up your messages and allows you to reply to any new message right there.The last earth-shaped one shows you all your notifications.
Similarly to the iPhone app, your news feed has three additional shortcuts to post a photo, a status or check in places. Sliding your news-feed to the left, in order to have more space to the right, while you’re in landscape mode, gives you a new sidebar: Facebook chat, equipped like the iPhone version with speech bubbles.
Your Facebook profile page is very similar to the way you see it using the regular Facebook website, adding to it the two iPhone shortcuts to post a status or share a picture.
Facebook Places has been given a rather interesting layout where you get to see where your friends have checked in on a map.
You can also see your friend list and albums similarly to the grid layout in iTunes: big thumbnails that feature the album cover or a friend’s profile picture.
Overall, the Facebook for iPad app is pretty neat. Using it is intuitive and it merges the computer version of Facebook and the iPhone version quite well, which is what the iPad is all about: your computer experience in a mobile form.
The app looks nice, as you can see from the below pictures, and I think all the different shortcuts are rather smart. It basically comes down to this: I guess Mark Zuckerberg is eating his words after saying they have no interest in developing an app for the iPad seeing as it’s not a mobile platform. Because from what I’ve seen of the app, they’ve put more work in it than the iPhone version. This can be considered as “beta” and it’s less buggy than the iPhone app I’m using.
Good job Facebook.