First look: Facebook 3.0 for iPhone

Facebook updated its popular iPhone app delivering lots of improved features for the official iPhone Facebook 3.0 rev

Facebook updated its popular iPhone app delivering lots of improved features for the official iPhone Facebook 3.0 rev. But sadly, Facebook fails to deliver everything a mobile Facebook warrior could want.

Apple approved version 3.0 of the Facebook app for iPhone Thursday, and it is now available for download from the App Store. Besides the features announced previously, a few other nice touches made it into this version as well.

What's new in Facebook 3.0 for iPhone

The first thing you will notice in the 3.0 Facebook app is the redesigned home screen, which displays the main Facebook functions on a 3-by-3 grid. Unlike in the screenshots in the App store, the grid lines on the home screen are not present in the final version.

The app's main screen actually behaves like the iPhone's home screen. You can swipe left/right for another page where you can add news feeds of your friends and Facebook pages you administer. The icons in the grid can also be arranged, in the same way as with the iPhone home screen, by holding your finger on an icon until it starts shaking.

Facebook 3.0 for iPhone also adds support for events, and you can now see your upcoming events and RSVP. You can write and read notes from your friends and change your profile picture. The app also gives you complete control over your Facebook photos, so you can create/delete albums, delete photos and photo tags.

The news feed section sees many improvements in Facebook 3.0 for iPhone as well. You can now view the Facebook news feed on your iPhone just as you would on a desktop browser and "Like" statues, posts or photos. Notifications will be displayed at the bottom of the home screen. A great feature is the addition of landscape viewing of the news feed and you can also visit links without leaving the app, via a built-in browser.

What's lacking in Facebook 3.0 for iPhone

Although you can upload videos from an iPhone 3GS, you can't view videos your friends have uploaded to Facebook. However, if someone posts a video from YouTube, you can watch in the built-in browser.

But one of the biggest shortcomings of the new Facebook 3.0 app for iPhone is the lack of push notifications. The only way to get notifications from your news feed when the Facebook app is closed is either to set up email alerts from within Facebook or to use SMS alerts.

The iPhone's email client can fetch new messages only every 15 minutes and SMS alerts are not as widely available, so these two options can't really replace push notifications. However, we might see this feature arriving in a 3.1 update of the Facebook for iPhone app.

And lastly, it would be great if the next update of the Facebook for iPhone app could give the option to turn off the landscape viewing feature, as it can be quite annoying when using the app while lying down.

Overall though, the 3.0 Facebook app for iPhone is a great update and brings the desktop version of the social networking site closer to mobile users. In case you haven't done it already, I recommend you download the new app.

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