When Facebook’s iPad App is reportedly announced with the iPhone 5 next week, expect FB’s Project Spartan to slip under the radar.

As the photo above, courtesy of Tech Crunch, reveals, the long-gestating project exists and thus, a game-changer is upon us. You see, Spartan is its own HTML5-based mobile application platform upon which the iPad will run—meaning users won’t be downloading just an app, they’ll be downloading a future ecosystem of apps. That’s because HTML5 allows Facebook to operate completely inside of Safari and bypass Apple’s App Store, so FB has more control. Third-party developers such as Zynga can also work around the App Store to get on Facebook and tap into its 700 million users. And then there’s Apple, left out in the cold even on its own devices.

Well played, Facebook.

[via Tech Crunch]