It has been the equivalent of waiting for Bigfoot. Bloggers had seen it. Developers said they had worked on it. Facebook denied its existence. Everyone else just wanted to know if it was real.
It's the Facebook application for the iPad, which is finally out in the wild for everyone to prod, pinch and interact with.
After months of speculation and false alarms, Facebook said Monday that its official iPad application was available as a free download from the Apple App Store.
The app will likely benefit Apple and Facebook. Although the iPad is the biggest-selling tablet on the market, some consumers are not convinced they need it and opt for less expensive tablets. Seeing a slick Facebook app could convince people to choose an iPad over competitors, as there is no Facebook app specifically tailored for tablets running Google's Android software.
For Facebook, a complete iPad application will keep people even more immersed in its service and add to the amount of time people spend on it. According to Nielsen Research, Americans spend eight hours a month, or 16 percent of their total time online, using Facebook's Web site and mobile applications.
Leon Dubinsky, a software engineer at Facebook, wrote in a blog post on the company's Web site that the app had been designed to create an immersive and "fun" experience on the tablet.