Will Facebook's iPad app launch with Apple's iPhone 5?
Is Facebook's long-awaited iPad app going to make its debut at Apple's iPhone 5 unveiling event, which is expected to take place Oct. 4?
That's the rumor, according to Ben Parr of Mashable, who says his unnamed sources have told him a Facebook iPad app will be announced at Apple's iPhone 5 event along with a new Facebook iPhone app and maybe even an HTML5-based mobile app store.
Apple and Facebook officials weren't available for comment on the report Monday, although Apple always declines to comment on speculation. And, so far, Apple has yet to confirm that the next-generation iPhone will be announced Oct. 4 or even be called the iPhone 5.
But the information, while exciting to those who have been waiting months for a Facebook app on the iPad, does have some odd aspects given that the event will no doubt be focused on the iPhone 5 (or iPhone 4S, or whatever name Apple gives its new iPhone).
The announcement of a Facebook iPad app and a new iPhone app would make sense at an Apple event if the apps were shown taking advantage of some new features in iOS 5, the latest version of Apple's iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad operating system, which will ship on the iPhone 5.
But it's also worth keeping in mind that iOS 5 places Twitter front and center.
Twitter, not Facbeook, is the social network built into iOS 5 and integrating into the iPhone's photos, contacts and Safari Web browser apps. It has been reported that Apple at one point wanted to integrate Facebook into iOS 5 before going with Twitter, but that obviously didn't happen.
Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's chief executive and co-founder, showed off what his social network's new Timeline-style profile pages would look like on an iPhone at the company's F8 developer conference keynote last week and that would either have to be presented in a updated app or maybe an HTML5 version of Facebook.
The one bit of Parr's information that seems to me to be unrealistic is that Facebook would launch an HTML5-built mobile app store of its own at the Apple iPhone 5 unveiling. Apple has built a major business on selling apps for its devices through its iTunes App Store and now its Mac App Store.
Why in the world would Apple want to let Facebook unveil an app store of its own that operated outside of the Apple ecosystem? Why would Apple give stage time to Facebook apps, and not iPhone or iPad apps, at an event announcing a new iPhone equipped with a new version of its own operating system?
However, if Parr's sources are correct and Apple, the world's most valuable tech company, and Facebook, the world's most valuable and most popular social network, were to team up for an app store, it could be huge and a threat to both Google's Android operating system and the Google+ social network.
We'll all find out what's what when Apple unveils its next iPhone.
-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles
Photo: Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg shows the social network's new Timeline profiles on an Apple iPhone during the company's F8 developer conference in San Francisco on Sept. 22, 2011. Credit: Paul Sakuma / Associated Press