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Thoughts on Tweetbot

At some point during the night of the 13th of April, iPhone app kings Tapbots launched their long-awaited twitter client, Tweetbot. Having purchased other apps by Tapbots (Calcbot and Convertbot) and been more than a little bit satisfied, I downloaded Tweetbot first thing Thursday morning and removed Twitter for iPhone from my home screen. What follows are my initial thoughts after using the app for a day.

Those following the development of Tweetbot won’t be unfamiliar with the difficulties that Tapbots had to overcome when making the app, most difficult of which was Twitter’s acquisition of Tweetie, which later became Twitter for iPhone. By doing this, and making the app free, Twitter pretty much shut down the market for iPhone twitter clients overnight. Tapbots, it seemed needed to do something pretty special to get people to switch to a paid client. Guess what… They did it.

If one word summed up the feeling of using Tweetbot, for me it would be “right”. The level of functionality that has been shoehorned into such a sleek, minimal UI is unbelievable. Tweetie brought us the beginning of gesture based control with pull-down-to-refresh and swipe-to-reply/retweet/more but Tapbots have evolved this concept dramatically. Not only are there more gestures, you can set a custom action (triple tap) to do one of a number of things. Swipe left to view related tweets and right to view all tweets in a conversation. It just seems like the way things should be. The best thing though, is that Tweetbot doesn’t feel alien. I’ve used Tweetie/twitter for iPhone for well over a year but picking up Tweetbot was a breeze. Things you would expect are still there and work in much the same way, pull down to refresh, for instance. The new functionality compliments existing UI conventions, it doesn’t defy them.

My only gripe is one that doesn’t even apply to me; Tweetbot doesn’t include any push notification support. Up until recently I used Twitter push notifications and I know a lot of people who still do. The fact that switching client means they would lose that feature might be too jagged a pill to swallow for some people. That said, if Boxcar include it in an update, it could be easy to overcome.

So all in all, this is a very, very good app. Stable operation, exceptional UI all with Tapbots’ trademark design and sound effects makes Tweetbot well worth the £1.19 price tag. Get in there while the offer lasts, you won’t regret it. I now hope that Tapbots put some of the revenue that Tweetbot generates into developing an iPad version. The iPad has been without a half way decent Twitter client for far too long. If anyone can do it, Tapbots can.

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