iPhone users longing for a few of the features Facebook Home delivered to Android last week will see Chat Heads, one of the Home launcher’s calling cards, arrive on Tuesday.
Chat Heads are small bubbles that pop up with your friends’ Facebook profile photos when they send you messages. Chat Heads are visible on the home screen and in any app on Android devices that have Facebook Home installed. But that reportedly won’t be the case for iOS users, who will see Chat Heads only when the Facebook or Facebook Messenger apps are open.
Mike Schroepfer, Facebook’s chief technology officer, and Cory Ondrejka, head of mobile, announced the iOS update at All Things D’s D: Dive into Mobile conference Tuesday. The update will begin rolling out Tuesday afternoon.
Chat Heads are especially useful on Android because you can read messages or throw them away while multitasking with other apps, so it’s unclear how beneficial Chat Heads will be for iOS users.
Facebook Home introduced Chat Heads for messages. They show a Facebook friend’s profile picture in a bubble.
At the Facebook Home announcement event in March, Mark Zuckerberg said the launcher was designed for Android because the open platform offers more flexibility. The ability to see Chat Heads across apps on Android is something that can’t be replicated on iOS.
Aside from Chat Heads, both iOS and Android users will also soon see Stickers, packs of emoji images that elevate your basic smiley face within Facebook messages.
Facebook is clearly making a concerted effort to upgrade its mobile presence, including a refreshed iPad app also rolling out on Tuesday. According to The Verge, the updated tablet app mimics the visual emphasis of Facebook’s News Feed for non-mobile users. iPad users will also see Chat Heads in the Facebook and Messenger apps.
We’ll go hands on with both Facebook’s iPhone and iPad apps when the upgrades are pushed out on Tuesday.