Apple Inc., the manufacturer of iPhone and iPad, knows about Facebook’s secret project “Spartan” and is believed to be lending some minor support to the project as it is not afraid of it at all, according to TechCrunch's reporter MG Siegler.

Facebook is launching a new HTML5-based platform, Project Spartan, with the target of regaining some form of control over the mobile app distribution arena that Apple has been dominating so long.

Project Spartan is aimed at reaching around 100 million users in mobile Safari. Although, many websites are integrating HTML5 standards to regain some form of control over the web like the Financial Times and Playboy, the difference in Facebook's new project is that the new platform will be on the hardware that people love to use.

Facebook would have a great control over it as it would work on Safari and it won’t be distributed through App Store. Dozens of developers are working with Facebook on the project, to have apps for the platform that range from games to news-reading apps.

After the recently revealed partnership of Apple with Twitter over iOS5, Facebook’s obvious target is Apple and their iOS devices, though the platform will be available for Google Android devices and others.

While Siegler says Apple knows about Project Spartan and is believed to even be lending some minor support to the project as it is not afraid of it at all. Perhaps Apple is that bearish on HTML5 app development and has the mentality that they’ll deal with that issue when it actually becomes a problem.

Siegler also said having seen some of the early Spartan apps, the likelihood that users would choose them over a native iPhone app is laughable.

However, Apple has supposedly been taking steps to try and control the spin of Project Spartan by portraying itself as friendly to both HTML5 and native code due to rocky relationship with Facebook. Insiders alleged that Facebook has antagonized Apple before and has been facing the consequences.

Meanwhile, Facebook has been reportedly working on a free iPad app for more than a year and is in the final stages of testing.

Facebook, which released its official app for iPhone immediately after the launch of Apple's App store in 2008, has not come with an app for the tablet device - iPad, which was released in April 2010.