A year and a half after Apple launched the iPad, Facebook has launched an official iPad app. Um, whoopie?
While it’s nice to see Facebook finally take part in the biggest personal computing phenomenon since the laptop, Facebook’s iPad app has left me feeling cold. For one thing, it’s barely distinguishable from unofficial Facebook apps like MyPad and Friendly. (One exception: It links to iPad versions of any Facebook-powered apps you use, such as Zynga Poker.)
More importantly, the lack of integration throughout iOS is a big letdown in light of what other platforms have done with Facebook, and what Apple has done with Twitter.
Twitter is a big part of iOS 5, so users can tweet directly from built-in apps such as Safari, Photos and YouTube. Third-party apps will be able to tap these abilities as well, essentially letting you tweet from anywhere. No such functionality exists on iOS devices for Facebook.
Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform, meanwhile, has full Facebook integration. It can show Facebook messages alongside incoming text messages. It can show new Facebook photos right on the home screen. You can easily share and tag photos in Facebook directly in the camera app. I’m sure these capabilities will extend to Windows 8 tablets next year.
Android also has some Facebook integration thanks to the way the operating system lets apps share information. Whenever you see the “Share” button in an Android app—for example, in the camera, the web browser or some social networks—there’s a good chance you’ll be able to post that photo, link or status update to Facebook.
Even HP’s fallen TouchPad has a touch of Facebook integration, showing photos from the social network inside the main Photos app, and letting users populate their contacts and calendars with Facebook data. (Mashable recently reported that Facebook’s TouchPad app infuriated Apple and further sullied relations between the two companies.)
Compared to all these advancements, Facebook’s iPad app is like a lonely island, unable to communicate with the outside world of iOS. Hopefully, this app is the start of a better relationship between Facebook and Apple, leading to better Facebook integration in the future.
(MORE: Top 10 Apple Moments)