When I got my iPad, one of the things I was most excited about was combining my new favorite toy with one of my favorite hobbies (procrastinating on Facebook). However I soon discovered what every other iPad user most likely already knew. There was no Facebook iPad app. Instead of a full-size app that made use of the space offered by the iPad’s large screen, those of us who wanted to do our social networking on the go with our Apple tablet had to get by with the iPhone app. A first world problem, if ever there was one, but still, by comparison to the other apps tailor-made for the iPad, the magnified version of the iPhone Facebook app fell noticeably short.

Using Facebook through Safari on the iPad was just as underwhelming. As the New York Times so eloquently put it, “Until now, navigating Facebook.com on an iPad felt like trying to write an e-mail on a calculator.”

Here are some of the enhanced features offered in the Facebook iPad app:
Enjoy bigger, better photos: Your photos are high-res and easy to flip through, like a real photo album - Navigate anywhere, fast: Just tap, slide or pinch to move from one screen to another
- Play games on the go: Access your favorite Facebook apps and games, wherever you are
- Focus on what matters: Zoom in on your friends' photos, updates and stories
- Never lose your place: Share a photo, update your status or send a message without leaving News Feed
See who's nearby: Check out the Nearby map to see what your friends are up to

You can view more details on the app’s capabilities here.

Also included in the features is the ability to take HD videos and photos right through the app and post them instantly. As the Times points out, the photo albums featured through Facebook are set up to function similarly to how the iPad’s built-in photo app works, allowing users to easily swipe through photos in albums. This feature demonstrates what a lot of us have been waiting for in this app. The iPhone app felt like it was made for a small, compact device, because it was.

From what I can tell so far, this new app seems built around the way we use the iPad for other things, which makes it feel a lot more intuitive, allowing us to swipe left to right to return to our wall after visiting a friend’s page, for example, and creating a stationary side-menu with various options, including our favorited games and pages, rather than forcing us to go to a dedicated menu page to move around Facebook. The stationary vertical menu on the side, and the ability to swipe through pages left to right in addition to viewing by scrolling up and down is similar to how the iPad Twitter app works.

As a Words with Friends addict, I was pleased to see that clicking the game from Facebook toggled me to the Words with Friends iPad app I already had installed on my iPad. A feature like that, which incorporates other Facebook-compatible apps could prove to be really useful.

So far it looks like the Facebook iPad app is turning out to be well worth the wait. In fact, if it turns out to be as good as it looks at first glance, I may actually start using Facebook regularly from my iPad.

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