Facebook app update fights iPad users, causes headaches

Jul 29, 2011
Tech

Facebook released an update to its iOS app earlier this week to disable the hidden iPad version of the app discovered in the code of the social network’s iPhone app. The update came almost immediately after the news broke that a nearly fully functional but slightly buggy Facebook for iPad could be located and activated […]

Facebook released an update to its iOS app earlier this week to disable the hidden iPad version of the app discovered in the code of the social network’s iPhone app.

The update came almost immediately after the news broke that a nearly fully functional but slightly buggy Facebook for iPad could be located and activated with a little bit of jailbreak tech savvy. It seemed that Facebook had left the code in the iPhone app, likely to allow it to test the app, but the discovery suggested that an oft-rumored but still absent Facebook iPad app could be released anytime.

After Facebook shut the door on the secret iPad version, new problems cropped up – namely, a bunch of technical issues that users of the Facebook iPhone app are experiencing, leading to a flood of negative reviews on iTunes. According to a Bezinga story that comes via SFGate.com, users are seeing the app crashing often and failing to send updates and alerts, among other issues.

That story says that ever since Joe Hewitt, the creator of Facebook for iPhone, left the firm in May, Facebook has only had one developer working full-time on its iOS apps. It seems iOS is not a big priority, with Facebook instead turning its attention to developing browser-based applications in HTML 5, leaving iPhone and now iPad owners frustrated. A rumor circulated recently that Facebook’s HTML 5 focus would be more than just a browser-based version of its site, and that the initiative, code named Project Spartan, might even develop web apps to rival the native ones found on the iPhone. That could allow Facebook to monetize apps on iOS without giving Apple its cut.

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But in the meantime, it seems that Facebook isn’t highly concerned with fixing the bugs in its iOS app and it doesn’t seem as though it has stepped on the gas to release the iPad app, even though it has been inadvertently released into the wild. Facebook has been closed-lipped about the future of its mobile apps, but the iPhone version (as well as its counterpart on Google’s Android platform) ranks among the most popular apps in the App Store. It seems silly for the company to abandon it to the dissatisfaction of users.

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Phil Hornshaw

Phil Hornshaw is a freelance writer, editor and author living in Los Angeles, dividing his time between playing video games, playing video games on his cell phone, and writing about playing video games. He’s also the co-author of So You Created a Wormhole: The Time Traveler’s Guide to Time Travel, which attempts to mix time travel pop culture with some semblance of science, as well as tips on the appropriate means of riding dinosaurs. Check out his profile.

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