Sep
26
2011

Facebook iPad App “Feature Complete” Since May, Apple and Facebook Negotiating Over HTML5 Platform?

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In a blog post published earlier today, former Facebook engineer Jeff Verkoeyen explained that among the reasons behind his decision to leave Facebook for Google there was some sort of frustration for the release of Facebook’s official iPad app. The app, leaked earlier this year as Facebook buried its code inside the iPhone app, has been apparently feature complete since May but, as Verkoeyen clarifies to The Next Web, there were still bugs and issues to iron out with the software. The app was pushed back several times, but Verkoeyen says that he enjoyed his time working at Facebook.

He says that there were definitely bugs and issues with the app that still needed working out. Although his post indicated that the development of the app slowed after his initial push in May, he says that it is still a ‘continually evolving’ app. Verkoeyen wanted to stress the fact that ‘feature complete’ and ‘complete’ are two very different concepts.

MG Siegler, who originally leaked the Facebook iPad app months ago, briefly chimes in to suggest that the app might have been delayed multiple times because of ongoing negotiations between Apple and Facebook. Such negotiations are said to include a deal for a collaboration between the two companies on Spartan, Facebook’s rumored new HTML5 platform that will allow developers to write Facebook apps and games that run in the browser.

There isn’t much to go on here just yet, but we’ve been hearing that Facebook and Apple may now be working together on the HTML5 project. Maybe it’s because Apple hates Google that much, or maybe it’s because they realize that HTML5 apps are still no real threat to the native app movement. Or maybe they want Facebook’s wildly popular social games to run inside of Facebook’s apps — including the iPad app. If this is indeed the case, negotiations may still be underway.

Project Spartan has been in the rumors for months now, and some initially believed it would be formally introduced — alongside the iPad app — at the f8 conference last week. Spartan, an HTML5-based development platform deeply tied into Facebook’s API and payment system, was also regarded as Facebook’s answer to Apple’s App Store’s dominance in the mobile space — by targeting iOS browsers in its initial release, Spartan could offer an interesting alternative for developers looking to write mobile apps integrated with Facebook.

A collaboration between Facebook and Apple would also result interesting, of course, considering Apple’s support for Twitter in its upcoming iOS 5. A video showing an internal iOS 4 build showed that Apple had at least internally tested direct integration of Facebook into its iPhone software, but the feature never made it to iOS 4′s public release. It’s been widely speculated that Apple and Facebook couldn’t come to an agreement because of Facebook’s terms — Apple was even forced to pull Facebook integration from its music-based social network, Ping, at the last minute.

One last piece of information comes from Robert Scoble, who suggested last week Facebook was saving its iPad app announcement for October 4th, the day Apple is expected to hold its iPhone 5 keynote in Cupertino.

UpdateBen Parr at Mashable reports the Facebook iPad app and a new version of the iPhone client will be unveiled at Apple’s next keynote, as Scoble suggested last week. Parr reports Apple and Facebook share a common “goal” (bring down Google, it seems) and he corroborates MG Siegler’s report earlier today — Facebook’s “Project Spartan” HTML5 platform may see Apple’s involvement to allow developers to create better apps for mobile browsers.

Facebook will launch its long-awaited iPad app at Apple’s iPhone 5 launch event on Oct. 4, Mashable has learned. In addition to the iPad app, Facebook is also expected to release a revamped version of its iPhone app and may unveil an HTML5-based mobile app marketplace.

If Parr’s sources are correct (he was given a preview of Facebook’s f8 announcements last week, and wrote that Facebook would “profoundly change” a day before the conference), we may see the long-awaited Facebook iPad app on Tuesday, October 4th.

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Tags:apple, facebook