Chat Heads, the core feature of the new Facebook Home for Android, is coming to iPhone and iPad via an update to Facebook’s iOS client, Facebook CTO Mike Schroepfer and mobile head Cory Ondrejka announced at AllThingsD’s D: Dive into Mobile conference today.
Other new features have also been mentioned, including a new layout on iPad which takes into account March changes to Facebook’s News Feed.
As for Facebook Home, that application will see its first update on select Android smartphones from HTC and Samsung in “the second week of May”. Go past the fold for a nice Facebook 6.0 for iOS hands-on video…
According to AllThingsD‘s Peter Kafka, the updated software will also feature stickers and a new version of the iPad interface said to mirror the version Facebook brought to the desktop newsfeed recently.
Stickers are becoming a must-have instant messaging feature, and private social network Path even offers stickers for sale through its iOS app.
The two Facebook execs publicly state that the new Facebook 6.0 build will be dropping “later today.”
Bloomberg hinted yesterday that Facebook was talking to Apple about making a “version of its new mobile software for the iPhone.” And earlier this morning, Facebook’s chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg told The Wall Street Journal that some of Home features will be available via a new iOS Facebook app “very soon.”
We are going to release a new version [of our mobile app] on iOS, very soon … You will see some of the features from Home will be launched with Apple.
She confirmed Facebook is going to “continue to develop for both” platforms, but acknowledged that “Android is enabling us to provide a more immersive Facebook experience than we can on other operating systems.”
Indeed, Chat Heads will only work within the Facebook app, unlike this concept that envision Chat Heads running anywhere in iOS.
On Android, Chat Heads are available in any app because Google’s rule allow for UI overlays. Facebook also confirmed that users outside the United States should be able to download Facebook Home for Android later today.
Here’s what Chat Heads look like in the latest Facebook Messenger for Android update.
Here’s a hands-on video by The Verge highlighting the upcoming Facebook version 6.0 build for iOS.
And in another must-read write-up, The Verge quotes Facebook product designers Joey Flynn and Brandon Walkin who explain how a late-night hack turned into Facebook’s next big thing:
They spent hours mocking up the idea, putting faces inside circles, and then squares, and then rounded rectangles. They decided on circles, a recent trend for avatar pictures, then added white borders, and then scrapped the borders.
They stacked faces vertically, and then horizontally, and tooled with rubber-banding animations inside Apple’s Quartz Composer software. “It was one long night, one crazy idea, and that’s how it started,” says Flynn.
And here’s Julie Zhuo, product design director of Facebook Home, speaking to the Medium.com on use of Apple’s QuartzComposer (QC) prototyping tool:
It’s no secret that many of us on the Facebook Design team are avid users of QuartzComposer, a visual prototyping tool that lets you create hi-fidelity demos that look and feel like exactly what you want the end product to be.
We’ve given a few talks on QC in the past, and its presence at Facebook (introduced by Mike Matas a few years back) has changed the way we design. Not only does QC make working with engineers much easier, it’s also incredibly effective at telling the story of a design.
Chat Heads are also featured in Facebook’s Home promo clip.
Of course, don’t expect tight integration between SMS and Facebook messages. That feature is exclusive to Facebook Messenger for Android because Apple’s prohibits third-party applications from integrating with SMS or iMessages.
Hands up who’s looking forward to Chat Heads?