updated 04:30 pm EDT, Mon September 26, 2011
App was finished five months ago, dev says
The lead engineer for Facebook's still-unreleased iPad app ultimately quit the company over the delay, a blog post reveals. Jeff Verkoeyen writes that he helmed the project for about eight months, sometimes putting in as much as 80 hours per week to meet Facebook's schedule. But the company kept changing the schedule, which Verkoeyen says played a "large" contributing factor in the decision to quit Facebook and join Google.
The developer in fact claims that the app has been feature-complete for five months, and was originally set to debut in May. Reports have indicated that May soon became June or July, and some rumors later hinted at a launch at this month's f8 event. In any event iPad code was found buried inside the iPhone app in late July, and while it was quickly blocked by Facebook, its state at the time supports the notion that the iPad app was essentially finished. Verkhoeyen comments that some work was still left to finish.
Currently rumors hint that the delay may be linked with a row between Facebook and Apple. Facebook integration was originally supposed to be a part of Apple's Ping network, but was pulled shortly before the latter's introduction, supposedly because of terms Apple wouldn't accept. An identical situation may have occurred with iOS 5, prompting Apple to turn to Twitter. Facebook may be using the promise of an iPad app as a bargaining chip, given the status of the iPhone app as the most downloaded iOS title of all time.
The rumors nevertheless suggest that Apple may be cooperating on Project Spartan, Facebook's HTML5 platform effort. Apple may want to ensure that Spartan doesn't favor Android, to which the project recently expanded. Alternately the company may simply not see HTML5 as a threat, or it may want games to finally run inside native Facebook apps.