Facebook updates iOS apps – faster and easier to use

Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg took to… well, Facebook today to announce the arrival of new versions of the company’s mobile apps for iOS devices, with speed improvements being the big focus.

Both iPhone/iPod touch and iPad versions of the app have been completely rebuilt from the ground up to make the apps load and feel faster. New features have been added too, including a proper Timeline view for the iPad app, a news stories banner and new gestures such as flicking up or down when viewing a picture to return to the main feed.

To produce such noticeable speed gains – and they really are noticeable – Facebook has had to convert the entire of each app from HTML5 to native Apple iOS SDK, a process that has apparently taken six months.

One downside of this conversion is that Facebook can no longer push rapid updates to users – previously Facebook could change whatever it liked just like it were a webpage – but must instead wait to push the update to Apple and then for users to download the update themselves.

The length of time taken for the update doesn’t bode well for a similar Android app update happening any time soon either, leaving Android tablet users in particular hamstring with a poor user experience for the forseeable future. An update to the Android app did actually go out today but it was only a minor tweak.

The Facebook for iOS update is of course free and should be available on all iOS devices now.

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