Twitter apps for iPhone
Twitter is a fun service that lets you keep in touch with your friends and other people you only wish you knew. Like many people, I’ve come to rely on it as a backchannel that keeps me in touch with my colleagues and friends in ways that email and instant messaging simply can’t. And since the iPhone was first released, I’ve used Web interfaces to Twitter to read and post Twitter items, known as “tweets,” when I’m on the go.
With the release of the App Store, there are now several native Twitter clients for the iPhone. All of these programs show immense promise as well as numerous warts.
(If you haven’t updated your iPhone to version 2.0 - or don’t want to download a lot of iPhone apps and risk stability problems - don’t fear. Hahlo remains an excellent, full-featured Twitter client that works right within Safari.
Twitterrific for iPhone
The Iconfactory’s Twitterrific is my favourite Mac client for the Twitter social-messaging service, and the new iPhone edition of Twitterrific is my favourite of the first generation of iPhone apps.
Twitterrific displays tweets from your contacts and lets you send tweets. The program includes integration with twitpic.com, so you can take a photo (or pick one from your photo library) and the program will automatically upload it and embed its URL in your tweet. An embedded Web browser lets you tap on user names or hyperlinks and view the contents without having to switch out of the program and into Safari.
The program’s interface is excellent, combining simplicity with solid functionality. A series of slide-out “hint” screens appear for new users, cleverly helping to teach you how the program works. But I found the program’s large single-tweet view to be mostly a waste of time.
Although Twitterrific provides me with 95 per cent of what I use Twitter for, there’s still plenty of room for the iPhone version to grow, especially given the tough competition of several excellent iPhone-optimized Twitter web interfaces, most notably Hahlo.
Twitterrific can’t display all the messages from a given friend; also, it doesn’t let you filter tweets to only see your direct messages, messages replying to your tweets, or a list of your own recent tweets. The program’s scrolling also feels sluggish. (A forthcoming update will improve the program’s scrolling speed.)
(Unlike Twinkle and Twittelator, Twitterrific’s free version is supported by occasional ads in the tweet list. You must buy the $10 Twitterrific Premium to block those ads.)
Twitterrific is currently the classiest of the Twitter client apps on the iPhone, but it’s got stiff competition close behind. What Twitterrific lacks in features, it more than makes up for by getting the interface and most important parts of Twitter - reading and posting tweets - right.