My favorite way to use Twitter on iOS used to be a brilliant app called Tweetie. (I started using it back in 2009.) Before Twitter bought out the developer, Loren Brichter, it was simply the best option out there. It was fast and responsive, and pioneered a UI convention that is pretty common now: “pull to refresh.”
Unfortunately, Twitter let the app rot after they bought it. It slowly began to have performance and stability problems, and in one update they added an annoying floating ticker that displayed trending topics at the top of the screen. Twitter called it the “Quick Bar,” but the irritating feature soon became known as the “DickBar,” partially in honor of the then CEO Dick Costolo. It was removed shortly after, but that little gaffe was only the first nail in the coffin.
In December of 2011, Twitter rolled out a fresh redesign of their web interface, and changed their apps along with it. They dumped the old Tweetie codebase and replaced it with a stripped-down app that was virtually identical to their new mobile web site. That last insult was the catalyst for me paying for yet another Twitter client, my new favorite…
Tweetbot, by Tapbots, is an awesome Twitter client that is every bit as excellent now as Tweetie was when it came out. It’s UI is smooth and responsive, as well as visually stunning. (I have yet to see the app “hang up” for a second or two while transitioning between views, which is something many apps have a problem with.)
Once you get past the styling, the UI is very similar to other Twitter clients, though the Tapbots team has added their own touches. (Pun alert.) While many clients since Tweetie have used a swipe across a list item to reveal a series of buttons to perform actions, such as replying and retweeting, Tweetbot uses a single tap. Double-tapping takes you to a screen showing the single tweet, like a single tap does in the official Twitter client. And you can configure what action triple-tapping does. You rarely need to double-tap the statuses, as links are clickable in the main timeline.
Tweetbot has integration with Read it Later, so if you see an interesting link and want to read it on a larger screen later, you can save it for then. It can also “mobilize” links, pulling just the article text out and displaying it plainly, like the Reader function in Safari. And if anybody you follow occasionally posts in a language you don’t speak, there’s even a button that attempts to automatically translate it to English.
If you have multiple accounts, you can switch between them with a neat little iPad-style popover. Another neat feature lets you view only tweets from on of your Lists, instead of the whole timeline.
Tweetbot is a Twitter client of the highest quality, and it’s worth every penny of its $2.99 price tag.