During the past few years, I’ve grown obsessed with Twitter clients for the iPhone. The number of quality Twitter apps for the iPhone dwarfs those available on other platforms. For many, myself included, Tweetie had been my tweet weapon of choice. After Twitter bought Atebits, I transitioned to the official Twitter app, which was essentially an upgraded version of Tweetie. Great features and at the always fantastic price of free. Now under the corporate branch of Twitter, there have been some questionable decisions regarding features (see Quick Bar) and you have to wonder just how long before they introduce another new ‘feature’. Thankfully, the wealth of Twitter increased by one with the release of Tweetbot from Tapbots. These are the same developers responsible for Coverbot, Tweetbot, Calcbot and Weightbot, all of which are gorgeous looking apps. So how is the new kid on the block?
Let’s get this out of the way. I might run out of adjectives to describe the UI of Tweetbot. It’s stunning, beautiful, gorgeous and so on. For some, this isn’t a big deal. For this writer, I’m partial to apps that look great. Tweetbot fits the bill and more. Beyond the visual cues, the app also includes sound elements that make you feel as if you’re on the Starship Enterprise. Swoosh, tick. These aren’t over the top sounds that would interrupt a quiet room. I found them to be thoughtful sensory reminders of actions within the app. There are options to set sounds to “Play All”, “Notifications Only” or “None”, depending upon your preference. Tapbots manages to deliver one the best looking apps I’ve seen, while avoiding the pitfalls of overdesign found in some apps.
When it comes to Twitter, the wheel has already been invented. When you first enter your timeline, it’s not a drastic departure from other Twitter apps. Posting a tweet is straightforward and allows you to include geo-data and/or photos or video. The first three options at the bottom include timeline, mentions and messages. Things get interesting once you move to the next two options. You have the option to customize these tabs, all without leaving the main interface.
If you’ve listened to everythingiCafe: the show, then you know I’m a fan of gestures. While it’s easy to get caught up in the beauty of the app, the best thing about Tweetbot are the gestures and contextual menus, which were easy to master. I also found them to be extremely useful.
Here are a few examples:
- Tap and hold on a picture to bring up options to Follow, Add to List, Direct Message, Report for Spam.
- Tap and hold on a tweet to Post Link to Tweet, Copy Tweet, Email Tweet, Translate.
- Swipe right to generate related tweets
- Swipe left to reveal a conversation
- Double tap to reply to a tweet
- The all-powerful triple tap is customizable. You can set it to Reply, Retweet, Favorite or Translate.
Within the official Twitter app, you have an option within the new tweet window to easily address people you follow. This is incredibly useful; since I often forget the usernames of individuals I follow, since they often don’t match their proper name. Push notifications are also noticeably absent. Boxcar (App Store link) is an option for those of you who must have notifications within your Twitter app. The developer has acknowledged the shortcomings and has promised a steady stream of new features. It’s certainly understandable that they wanted to get the app out the door and will make ongoing improvements.
- I’ve run out of adjectives to describe the beauty of this app.
- Gestures and contextual menus are fantastic
- You don’t have to worry about Tapbots being bought by Twitter, turning the app free and then inserting promoted tweets as a ‘feature’ update.
- Developers have already acknowledged shortcomings, with a promise to push updates.
- Still technically a 1.0 product, so there are some features not included. Most notable being push notifications.
- No support for viewing photos in landscape.
- If you remove geo location and then add a photo, geo location displays within your tweet draft. It won’t tweet location, which is good, but it’s a bit odd.
Tweetbot has earned the right to be mentioned among the best Twitter apps for iPhone. Impeccable design, attention to detail and strides in usability through gestures and contextual menus makes for an excellent experience. With workarounds for notifications, you could easily make a case for making Tweetbot your new Twitter app of choice.