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.

Twittelator for iPhone

Big Stone Phone's Twittelator is in many ways the polar opposite of Twitterrific.

Twitterrific’s interface is terrific for reading your friends' timeline and posting tweets, but it doesn’t let you dive deep into the features of Twitter. Twittelator, in contrast, has a much less refined interface, but supports every Twitter feature imaginable.

From Twittelator, you can view your friends timeline, your own timeline, your replies, your direct messages, the timelines of other users, the friends of the people you follow, you name it. You can search for text on all of Twitter. If you tap on a friend’s icon, you immediately see all their Twitter stats.

If Twitterrific could improve by adding a bit more functionality, Twittelator could benefit from a dramatic tightening of its interface. I found the layout of its main tweet list a bit strange, with numerous small items that were difficult to tap on, and tweet text isn’t as readable as I’d like. Yet it's actually the least dense of the three programs, forcing you to scroll more.

Twittelator’s most bizarre feature is its “Emergency icon,” which according to Stone Design lets you “create a Tweet with a map of your current location.” The latest update to the software allows you to hide the button, which is a good thing. Twitter’s great and all, but if you’re in trouble, sending an automated tweet about it via a button that’s easily pushed by mistake doesn’t seem like it should be high up on your list of options.


I’m mightily impressed by all of Twittelator’s features. If you’re someone who frequently surfs around your friends’ timelines and the public Twitter timeline, it’s a better choice than Twitterrific. If most of your Twitter time is spent reading your friends timeline and posting tweets, it’s not.