When Wall Street investors talk about Facebook, it's incessantly "mobile this" and "mobile that." How is social network supposed to make money off of smartphone ads when its iPhone app is universally agreed upon as being terrible?

Now, Facebook has its answer for critics.

On Thursday, the crew at Facebook is rolled out a speedier, souped-up version of its iPhone and iPad app. Imagine Mark Zuckerberg in John Travolta's leather jacket. Facebook for iOS has been Grease Lightning'd.

"We just released a new Facebook app for iPhone and iPad and it's a lot faster," Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a status update. Our team completely rewrote it from the ground up to focus on speed. It's a big step forward."

When you first log on after downloading the new version, you may not notice a difference. Aesthetically, the old and new versions are remarkably similar. There are still buttons to create a status update, upload a photo, see friend-requests -- all laid out in the same place. (Check out the differences in the side-by-side comparison of the old and new app, below).


facebook iphone upgrade

At most, the design changes are just a slap-on paint job; the real update took place below the hood.

Immediately you'll notice faster loading times for News Feed refreshes, photo uploads and so on. The new app also lets you interact with content in a more intuitive way. When you tap on a photo, the app has the image instantly pop up to occupy the entire screen (as opposed to taking a dozen seconds to load). When you scroll deep into your News Feed, the app automatically pushes to your feed all the latest likes, comments and stories, and displays simple alerts in the top notification bar, which means that you'll no longer have to refresh your News Feed to see what's, erm, new.

The secret to the new app's success is its overhauled engine. Instead of working HTML 5, the same code that websites are written in, it's written in the "software development system" of the iPhone, as The Verge's Ellis Hamburger explains. Essentially, the app works in the language Apple intended all iPhone apps to be written in. The main reason your old Facebook iOS app was so clunky was because HTML 5 works best on computer web browsers, not mobile phones.

As someone who's been so frustrated with the iPhone's Facebook app as to yell out loud at it while waiting in line at stores, I'll attest to this improvement in the app's agility. In those frustrating situations, I've switched over to the Twitter or Instagram apps for my social-media fix. I'm sure Facebook's lost (or was in danger of losing) plenty of other eyeballs besides mine for the same reason.

Like Zuck said, big step forward it is, especially since the bar was so low before, but it isn't clear how this upgrade addresses that second problem of effectively advertising to users. Does this new version introduce ads into News Feeds in a way that pleases both users and advertisers? Will Facebook be able to turn its mobile app into a marketplace where I can actually buy something I want while I'm on my smartphone? I can't answer that; only time (and maybe a few more updates) will tell.

And Android users, you won't be left out in the cold too long. Zuckerberg is apparently forcing his employees to use Android devices over iPhones to remind them how much Facebook for Android sucks, reports Business Insider. Bad news for Zuckerberg's minions is good news for us!

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Earlier on HuffPost:

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  • Buckingham Palace Guard Canned For Allegedly Calling Kate Middleton Names

    <a href="http://www.radaronline.com/exclusives/2011/04/buckingham-palace-guard-fired-royal-wedding-kate-middleton-stupid-stuck-cow" target="_hplink">As reported by Radar Online,</a> an 18-year-old Buckingham Palace Guard was fired from his post ahead of the royal wedding after he allegedly slammed Kate Middleton in a Facebook post. <a href="http://www.radaronline.com/exclusives/2011/04/buckingham-palace-guard-fired-royal-wedding-kate-middleton-stupid-stuck-cow" target="_hplink">According to Radar Online</a>, the post, which was removed, read, "Hur and william drove past me on friday n all a got was a sh***y wave while she looked the opposite way from me, stupid stuck up cow am I not good enough for them! posh bitch am totally with u on this 1 who reely gives a f about hur."

  • Homeless Shelter Worker Fired For Calling Job "Spooky"

    An employee at a residential facility for the homeless was <a href="http://www.law.com/jsp/article.jsp?id=1202518321075&slreturn=1" target="_hplink">fired after posting on Facebook about an overnight shift</a> and apparently making light of the fact that many of the residents are mentally ill. <a href="http://op.bna.com/dlrcases.nsf/id/ldue-8k6pyz/$File/Martin House - Facebook.pdf" target="_hplink">According to a National Labor Relations Board document, she wrote,</a> "Spooky is overnight, third floor, alone in a mental institution, btw Im not a client, not yet anyway." The post was reported to the managers of the facility by a former resident who was Facebook friends with the employee.

  • Gay High School Coach Fired Over Facebook Photos

    A water polo coach at a California high school has filed a discrimination complaint against the school district after being fired over his Facebook photos. <a href="http://www.sgvtribune.com/news/ci_19069184" target="_hplink">According to the San Gabriel Valley Tribune,</a> a parent sent copies of the photos to the school's principal along with a letter declaring him "unfit to coach." The photos showed the him "posing with two drag queens" and "about to eat a corn dog," <a href="http://www.sgvtribune.com/news/ci_19069184" target="_hplink">writes the Tribune</a>.

  • Bank Employee Let Go For Posting About Superior's Salary

    Stephanie Bon, a former HR assistant at Britain's Lloyds Banking Group, <a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1373723/Bank-worker-Stephanie-Bon-fired-Facebook-post-Lloyds-boss-4k-hour-salary.html" target="_hplink">was fired after posting a comment</a> about the fact that her boss made more money than she. <a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1373723/Bank-worker-Stephanie-Bon-fired-Facebook-post-Lloyds-boss-4k-hour-salary.html" target="_hplink">According to the Daily Mail</a>, her controversial Facebook status update read, "LBG's new CEO gets £4,000 an hour. I get £7. That's fair."

  • Doctor Fired For Posting About Trauma Patient

    <a href="http://articles.boston.com/2011-04-20/lifestyle/29451939_1_social-media-patient-emergency-room" target="_hplink">According to the Boston.com</a>, a 48-year-old Rhode Island doctor was fired after she posted information about a trauma patient on her Facebook page. While Dr. Than didn't reveal the patient's name, <a href="http://www.health.ri.gov/discipline/MDAlexandraThran.pdf" target="_hplink">the hospital board concluded</a> that she had posted enough information that people who knew the patient would know who Dr. Than was talking about. Not only was the doctor fired and reprimanded by state regulators, but she also had to pay $500 and attend a continuing education class.

  • Teen Fired For Complaining About 'Boring' Job

    A British teenager was fired after updating her Facebook status with comments about how bored she was with her job as an administrative assistant at a product development and sourcing company. "[A]ll i do is shred holepunch n scan paper!!! omg!" read one of her comments, <a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1155971/Teenage-office-worker-sacked-moaning-Facebook-totally-boring-job.html#ixzz1aP7zuSQ7" target="_hplink">according to the Daily Mail</a>. "I think it is really sad," the teen said of her termination, <a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1155971/Teenage-office-worker-sacked-moaning-Facebook-totally-boring-job.html#ixzz1aP7zuSQ7" target="_hplink">per the Daily Mail</a>, "it makes them look stupid that they are going to be so petty."

  • Cop Canned After Resident Complains About Profile

    <a href="http://www.tri-cityherald.com/2009/01/18/449207/2-officers-lose-jobs-over-online.html" target="_hplink">According to Wasgington's Tri-City Herald</a>, state police officer Matt Blahut was given the option of resignation after a resident complained about photos on his friends-only profile that showed him drinking. The local father became alarmed when he saw his daughter looking at Blahut's profile, <a href="http://www.tri-cityherald.com/2009/01/18/449207/2-officers-lose-jobs-over-online.html" target="_hplink">he told the Herald</a>. "He's saying he's drunk. It shows him in uniform ... Law enforcement's supposed to set an example for these kids," <a href="http://www.tri-cityherald.com/2009/01/18/449207/2-officers-lose-jobs-over-online.html" target="_hplink">the man said</a>. Within days of the complaint Blahut was given his walking papers. "If we see this kind of judgment early on in somebody's career, what's to come?" <a href="http://www.tri-cityherald.com/2009/01/18/449207/2-officers-lose-jobs-over-online.html" target="_hplink">State Patrol Captain Jeff DeVere told the paper</a>.

  • Cop Fired For 'Compromising' DUI Checkpoint

    <a href="http://www.fox16.com/news/local/story/Shannon-Hills-Police-Officer-fired-over-Facebook/VBd65bX4Jkybk5YkXb4Clw.cspx" target="_hplink">Fox 16 reports</a> that an Arkansas police officer Scott Chaloner was fired after posting the following on his Facebook page: "If you live in Alexander and you're drinking and driving, get yourself a designated driver. If you don't and you're out on the streets, you'll wish you had. just a word to the wise." While the officer's superior said his post compromised a planned DUI checkpoint, Chaloner maintains that the statement was merely a public service announcement, <a href="http://www.fox16.com/news/local/story/Shannon-Hills-Police-Officer-fired-over-Facebook/VBd65bX4Jkybk5YkXb4Clw.cspx" target="_hplink">according to Fox 16</a>.

  • Professor Fired After Posting About Student's Test Scores

    Jason Liptow, a professor at a Michigan community college, <a href="http://www.themorningsun.com/articles/2011/07/07/news/doc4e14e00d92218189097398.txt?viewmode=fullstory" target="_hplink">was fired after using a failing student as a cautionary tale</a> in a Facebook status post, <a href="http://www.themorningsun.com/articles/2011/07/07/news/doc4e14e00d92218189097398.txt?viewmode=fullstory" target="_hplink">according to Michigan's Morning Sun</a>. "Student emailed me wanting to know how he could pass the class, he hadn't been there and failed three open-book tests," wrote Liptow, <a href="http://www.themorningsun.com/articles/2011/07/07/news/doc4e14e00d92218189097398.txt?viewmode=fullstory" target="_hplink">per the Sun</a>. Liptow claimed he was let go because of his plans to form a teacher's union and not because of the status update.

  • Firefighter Facebook Fired For Allegedly Bigoted Posts

    <a href="http://www.wickedlocal.com/bourne/archive/x1054072012/Bourne-firefighter-paramedic-is-fired-over-his-Facebook-posts#ixzz1aOj2dY1l" target="_hplink">According to the Bourne Courier,</a> Massachusetts firefighter and paramedic Richard Doherty was let go after repeatedly posting Facebook updates that showed "disrespect to gay individuals, mentally challenged individuals, patriotic citizens, public officials or people who might have a viewpoint different from his." In a disciplinary hearing, <a href="http://www.wickedlocal.com/bourne/archive/x1054072012/Bourne-firefighter-paramedic-is-fired-over-his-Facebook-posts#ixzz1aOj2dY1l" target="_hplink">Doherty said his comments</a> had been "misunderstood."

  • Teacher Fired For Joking About Drowning Her Students

    <a href="http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/brooklyn/facebook_vent_burns_teacher_JiHBB6wQwDljiYVfcUiIpN#ixzz1aOyc7yMg" target="_hplink">In March, the New York Post reported</a> that Brooklyn school teacher Christine Rubino could lose her job after writing the following on Facebook: "After today, I'm thinking the beach is a good trip for my class. I hate their guts." She was supposedly referencing an incident that had occurred the previous day, in which a New York student had drowned while on a field trip to the beach. While only Rubino's Facebook friends could see what she posted to Facebook, one of them was a fellow teacher who forwarded her comment to the principal.

  • Woman Fired For Calling Boss A 'Complete Tool'

    Leila Goodman of North Carolina was fired after calling her boss a "complete tool" because the company she worked for had decided not to allow employees to work overtime. <a href="http://www.wxii12.com/news/25761585/detail.html" target="_hplink">According to an attorney interviewed by WXII12.com,</a> the firing was legal since Goodman's comments fall under insubordination and not protected speech.

  • Woman Calls Boss A Mental Patient, Gets Fired

    Dawnmarie Souza, a medical technician, was fired for repeatedly bashing her boss on Facebook. <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2010/TECH/social.media/11/09/facebook.firing/index.html" target="_hplink">According to CNN,</a> the mildest of these disparagements was "comparing the supervisor to a psychiatric patient." However, the National Labor Relations Board, believes the firing was unlawful and filed a complaint against the company, saying that workers' criticism of their bosses on Facebook is "protected concerted activity."