Facebook’s iPad App is Complete, Says Former Developer

 @redletterdave
on September 26 2011 5:08 PM

Developer Jeff Verkoeyen says that Facebook's iPad application has been feature complete since May. He knows because he built it.

It is now nearly five months since the app was feature-complete and I haven't seen it released except for when the project was leaked on TechCrunch, Verkoeyen wrote on his personal blog Monday.

Indeed Verkoeyen was the lead developer on Facebook's iPad app, and he had been building it for eight solid months just to get it done in time. Sometimes, Verkoeyen would work as much as 80 hours a week, he said.

The original plan, according to Verkoeyen, was to launch the app around May, but as The New York Times reported back then, the iPad app was pushed back until June or July. Then, there were rumors that it would be unveiled at f8, but no dice. Frustrated by repeated delays, Verkoeyen quit Facebook and joined its premier rival, Google.

Needless to say this was a frustrating experience for me, Verkoeyen wrote. The experience of working on this app was a large contribution to the reasons why I left Facebook, though that doesn't mean it was a difficult decision.

While there's been no official reason for Facebook to delay its iPad app so many times, TechCrunch's MG Siegler believes it has something to do with the relationship between Apple and Google.

A conflict between the two companies would make sense. When Apple was set to launch its Ping social network for music last year, Facebook was supposed to play a key part; the integration was pulled at the last minute for unknown reasons. Similarly, Apple was rumored to be working with Facebook to bring deep integration of the network into iOS 5 (like it has with Twitter), but that was also killed. Siegler says the splits occurred over terms that Apple didn't like.

No matter what it says, Apple badly wants a Facebook app for iPad: Facebook's iPhone app is the most downloaded app of all-time. Several third-party iPad apps for Facebook are also among the top downloads of all-time for the tablet. Siegler believes Facebook's going back and forth on creating an iPad app is because the company was afraid Apple could use the Facebook app as leverage in dealings between the two companies.

Facebook does not want to be at the mercy of another company, whether it's Apple or Google, etc. Siegler said.

Project Spartan, Facebook's much-hyped HTML5 platform project, also plays a role in the relationship between Apple and Facebook. Project Spartan was originally intended for iOS, so Facebook apps written in HTML5 could also be displayed on Apple's mobile Safari browser, but Facebook's Credits system would have allowed Facebook to circumvent Apple's terms for in-app purchase cuts because of Facebook Credits. Surely, Apple was not in favor of this.

Verkoeyen now works for Google's mobile team.

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