Facebook launches iPad app, at last

Facebook’s finally launched its long-awaited iPad app, filling a gpaing hole in its lineup, and has also improved its mobile apps.

“Many of you have been asking about Facebook for iPad. Today, it’s finally here. With the iPad app, you get the full Facebook experience, right at your fingertips,” says Facebook engineer Leon Dubinsky on the company blog.

It’s been a long time coming – a year and a half, in fact, since Apple launched the iPad – and many third party developers have released apps of their own to fill the gap.

According to the company, the app gives the ‘full Facebook experience’, allowing users to scroll through their news feed, leaf through photo albums and zoom in on a picture using the tablet’s touch screen. Pictures are bigger, and easier to flip through.

Games, apps, groups and lists appear in the left-hand menu, with messages and notifications showing up at the top of every screen.

There are also other new features. “You can chat with friends right from your iPad, for example, or play games and use apps in full-screen mode. You can also watch high-res videos inline, record HD video and stream to Airplay devices,” says Dubinsky.

The company’s also improved its iPhone app and m.facebook.com mobile site, simplifying navigation, speeding up search and giving access to more games and apps.

“We are at the beginning of bringing Facebook Platform apps to mobile. The features we are launching today are still under development,” says the company’s Luke Shepard.

“They will evolve as we learn more about building richer social experiences on mobile devices. In addition, we will extend our native support for more mobile platforms such as Android in the near future.”