BBM 1.0.1 for iOS (iPhone screenshot 003)BBM 1.0.1 for iOS (iPhone screenshot 001)

Following numerous delays, BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) finally arrived last month as a free download on iOS and Android as the Canadian smartphone maker’s survival remains uncertain. The app saw five million downloads in the first eight hours of availability, emerged as the No. 1 on the iTunes download charts and brought a cool 20 million new users to the BBM platform within a week. BlackBerry tweeted today that the iPhone-only release would get updated later today to support Wi-Fi-only iPhone touch and iPad devices.

The new version is live now, but there’s a catch…

Here’s changelog for BBM version

– Support for iPod and iPad
– Invite BBM contacts to BBM Groups by Email
– ‘Tell your friends’ feature helps you connect with friends on BBM
– Quickly share your BBM PIN and PIN barcode to your social networks
– Fixes an issue where some users would be missing BBM Contact names
– Resolves some issues experienced in right to left language support
– Bug fixes and performance improvements

BlackBerry seemingly confirmed to Chris Davies of SlashGear that the new version adds support for WiFi-only iOS devices:

The new version follows BBM’s release for iOS and Android in late October for cellularly-enabled devices, with head of BBM Andrew Bocking confirming the imminent update to SlashGear today.

The move will mean that owners of non-3G/4G iPad and iPod touch devices will be able to join the growing number of BBM users.

Note that the original BBM release supported cellular iPads out of the box.

Today’s update is really about adding compatibility for Wi-Fi-only iOS devices, which shouldn’t be a problem as BBM isn’t tied to a cell phone number.

What’s the catch, you ask?

Well, don’t count on the native iPad interface. It gets worse as BlackBerry confirmed to Davies that it does not currently have the native iPad build in development at all.

The market advantages of software designed specifically to take advantage of a larger screen, such as on the recently released iPad Air, is continuously being evaluated, Bocking told us, and will only be undertaken if BlackBerry sees it as being valuable to the platform in some way.

Currently the U.S. App Store’s 76th top free app, BBM should climb up the ladder a bit after today’s update.

Just out of curiosity, do you use BBM at all?

I fired it up like twice, saw the spartan design and removed it from my device after realizing it’s useless to me because none of my friends instant-message via BBM.

BBM is free to download from the App Store.