Facebook is planning to launch a native iPad app in the “coming weeks,” according to a new report. Citing people briefed on Facebook’s plans, the New York Times reports that the new application will be free, and has been specifically designed and optimized to take full advantage of the iPad. According to the report, the app has been in development for almost a year, and is now in the final stages of testing after going through several design iterations. While the Chat and Groups features have undergone overhauls for the launch, the photo sharing features—including the ability to shoot and upload photos and videos directly from the iPad 2’s cameras—will likely grab the most attention. “The photo and video experience is amazing, offering full resolution and full-screen images,” said a person who has seen the app. Facebook currently offers no iPad-optimized experience via an app or the web, instead directing users to the service’s standard desktop website.

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Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg was asked about plans for such an app last November, and responded by stating that the “iPad is not mobile,” before Facebook’s mobile platform chief Eric Tseng clarified by indicating that Facebook considers the iPad to be part of a whole new class of devices, and not a mobile platform in the same way that a phone is.

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