NEW YORK, N.Y. - One of the enduring questions of the technology world: "When will iPad users get their very own Facebook app?"
That question was answered Monday as Facebook released an updated version of its iPhone application, one that's also designed to fill out the iPad's larger screen.
The lack of an iPad app for the world's most popular social network has confounded users ever since Apple launched its tablet computer a year and a half ago. Third-party developers have made money selling their own apps that show Facebook pages.
"We're releasing it now because it's done," Bret Taylor, Facebook's chief technology officer, said in an interview Monday.
Two weeks ago, Facebook engineer Jeff Verkoeyen announced on his personal blog that he was leaving to take a job with Google and that the iPad app he had worked on was nearly complete in May. It was then "repeatedly delayed through the summer," he said, without saying why.
Rumours have swirled that Apple and Facebook were in talks about deepening the integration of the social network into the system software of the iPhone and iPad. But Apple's updated system software, announced this summer, will feature integration with Twitter, another social networking service, rather than Facebook. That will make it easier to "tweet" from other applications besides Twitter's.
Like the previous Facebook app for the iPhone, the new "universal" iPhone and iPad app is free.
The updated Facebook app deals with one shortcoming of the old iPhone app, which didn't play well with apps developed for Facebook's website. They simply weren't available.
In the new iPhone and iPad app, some applications developed for Facebook will work.