WhatsApp is reportedly beta testing a tablet version of its messaging app, specifically optimized for the iPad. The beta testers were pleasantly surprised to discover the new feature in the app’s version 184.108.40.206 on TestFlight. Screenshots show that the iPad app functions similarly to the iOS app, with both a list of conversations and the current chat displayed side side. This move WhatsApp has been long-awaited, especially since the head of WhatsApp, Will Cathcart, expressed interest in developing an iPad app back in January 2022.
Meta, the parent company of WhatsApp, has not been keen on creating iPad apps in the past. Even popular apps like Instagram and Threads do not have iPad versions, while the Facebook app offers a subpar experience on the iPad with a simple zoomed version of the iPhone app. Messenger is the only Meta app that provides a relatively decent iPad experience. However, as WhatsApp becomes increasingly essential within Meta’s social ecosystem, particularly for business interactions, it makes sense to extend the app to the iPad.
In recent times, WhatsApp has been the focus of several updates and improvements. The Mac app received enhancements such as improved group calling, and the addition of support for HD photos and videos. Channels, a new feature, have been rolling out globally, allowing users to engage with specific topics of interest. Meta has also been working on making it easier for users to access their accounts across multiple devices. Interestingly, Meta is also exploring the idea of making WhatsApp a cross-platform messaging service to comply with EU regulations, further emphasizing the importance of expanding its user base.
Although WhatsApp is already widely popular, Meta views it as a potential secret weapon within its product lineup. The company envisions transforming WhatsApp into a private social network where users can connect with others and the things they care about. In its pursuit of increased adoption within the US market, Meta aims to make WhatsApp available on as many platforms as possible, including tablets. Thus, after years of requests from iPad users, WhatsApp may soon arrive on larger screens, providing a more versatile and accessible messaging experience.
– David Pierce, editor-at-large and Vergecast co-host.
– WABetaInfo (source of the screenshots)