updated 11:09 pm EDT, Fri May 4, 2012
Native iPad version still in development
Facebook has updated its iPhone and iPod Touch app Facebook Messenger to version 1.7, primarily adding the ability to text friends for free using one's existing data plan. This extends the program's ability and enables messages to reach friends even if they don't have the Messenger app on their own device, either on the web or directly on their phone. The update also adds the iChat- and iMessage-like "typing indicator" that lets a user know when someone is replying.
Ironically, the ability to see where friends are messaging from and the ability to send free SMS-style text messages isn't built into the site's own web page, or the regular Facebook app for iOS devices. The Messenger app handles text chatting separately of the main FB app, and allows users to chat and send photos and location information to individual friends or groups.
The app already offers push notifications of either Facebook chat or text messages, and FB chats are seamlessly updated when the user logs into Facebook on a web browser. The Facebook Messenger application is free and works in "iPhone" mode on iPads as well, though the company is known to be working on an iPad-native version as well.