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Instagram famously rejected the notion of making a functional tablet UI for the app, and its micro-blogging platform Threads is destined to meet the same fate.
In October, Instagram will turn 13 and even though it has transformed in a multitude of ways since then it still doesn’t have an optimised tablet UI. At the time of writing, the iPad Instagram app is simply a phone-sized version of the interface sitting in the middle of the screen, bordered by an immense blank space.
Its sibling app, Threads, looks the same.
Since Threads and Instagram are intrinsically linked as companion apps, this similar interface isn’t surprising. Both apps utilise the same login credentials and an Instagram account is required in order to use Threads. So where Instagram goes, Threads is predetermined to follow.
Even now, Instagram is one of the most popular apps in the world sporting over 500 million daily users. It has proven to be steadfast within a changing market, and its aggressive advertising model heavily contributes to Meta’s recent $88 billion valuation. Yet still, it resists a proper tablet app.
A Meta spokesperson confirmed with us that a tablet-specific app is not in the works for Threads. Still, there is a slim chance that Threads could be the catalyst that changes Meta’s tune. The app is still finding its footing following a tumultuous start, but Meta is actively making changes to the platform based on user feedback. Users asked for a chronological feed, and it was delivered. Users asked for a web UI, and it was created.
This wish-fulfilment isn’t altruistic, as there is a clear financial incentive to get users on the platform. Meta CEO Mark Zuckerburg has said that Threads won’t be monetised until it has “hundreds of millions of users”, and that extra revenue could be what brings Meta to a trillion-dollar valuation.
Maybe if the people call for usable tablet UI, Meta will finally relent in pursuit of the letter ‘t’.
I’m doubtful though. Commentators have been slamming Instagram’s tablet choices for years to no avail, and Instagram is far more valuable to Meta than Threads looks to be for a while. If after 13 years, an $88 billion dollar valuation, and more than 500 million active daily users, Meta still won’t concede to make a dedicated Instagram app for tablets then frankly, Threads doesn’t stand a chance.