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Head of WhatsApp on releasing an iPad app: ‘We’d love to do it’

Washington, US: WhatsApp's chief has recently revealed that they are in favor of releasing an iPad app.


"People have wanted an iPad app for a long time," Will Cathcart, the head of WhatsApp at its parent company Meta, told The Verge during an interview this week.


"We'd love to do it," Cathcart added.


“IF I HAVE MULTI-DEVICE ON... THAT WOULD BE REALLY IMPORTANT FOR A TABLET APP”

“We did a lot of work on the technology for supporting multiple devices,” Cathcart said, referencing the rollout of opt-in, multi-device support for WhatsApp last year. “Our web and our desktop apps now have that.


If I have multi-device on, I can turn my phone off or lose my network connection and still get messages on my desktop. That would be really important for a tablet app, to be able to use the app even if your phone isn’t on. So the underlying technology is there.”


However, that changed last year as WhatsApp rolled out multi-device support — as a beta for select users in July, and as an opt-in beta feature for all iOS and Android users in November.


Because of the way WhatsApp encrypts messages, it historically hasn’t been able to sync chats across devices over the internet like most other messaging apps work. So if WhatsApp on your phone didn’t have access to the internet, the desktop client didn’t work.


The beta version of multi-device support lets you sync your WhatsApp account on up to four devices at a time, a process that involves mapping device identifiers to an account key on WhatsApp’s servers in a way that’s still encrypted.


Now that such syncing technology exists, there’s a good chance that one of WhatsApp for iPad is finally on the horizon.

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Feb 28, 2022

What’s truly bizarre is that Apple still hasn’t pulled the plug on the ability to install iPhone apps on iPad. It was a nice-to-have feature in the beginning, to give early iPad adopters something to use while providing a bad enough experience that developers would be shamed into developing an app specifically for the iPad. But it really is a terrible experience, and Apple really should have phased it out like 10 years ago. If there were literally no way for iPad users to get to Instagram, I bet Facebook would have developed a native app by now. Instead of phasing it out 10 years ago, they brought the same half-baked experience to M1 Macs.

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