Tweet Speaker – Listen to Twitter ($2.99) by App Cubby is a way to listen to your Twitter timeline while you’re on-the-go.
As much as I love Twitter, sometimes it’s just not convenient to get your phone, open up your favorite Twitter client, and go read through all the latest tweets in your timeline. For example, this is highly inconvenient if you are driving, walking, or running. This is where Tweet Speaker comes in.
The first thing about Tweet Speaker that caught my attention is the delightful graphical interface. Despite this being an app that reads your tweets to you (thus eliminating the need to look at your screen), it’s remarkably beautiful. Everything from the way the timeline appears to the buttons – I just love it all.
In order to use Tweet Speaker, you will need to sign in to your Twitter account. If you don’t have one, you can also create one from the app. Once you are logged in, it is then time to start listening.
Tweet Speaker will load up your main timeline, and you can navigate by swiping left and right. Tweets are displayed one-at-a-time. You will see who tweeted, how long ago, and the tweet itself. Options for replying, “favoring,” conversation view, and retweet are available at the bottom of the tweet.
Underneath the tweet is a “dial” that you can turn to navigate to tweets at a specific time (marked by the red needle in the middle). Tweets will be displayed from left to right (oldest to newest). The ends of the timeline features that awesome “pull-to-refresh” feature that everyone loves.
In addition to viewing your timeline, you can view your mentions and any lists you’ve created or are following by tapping on the top left button (your “sources”). This is great if your main timeline is too convoluted and you just want to listen to your select few people.
Once you find the tweets that you want the app to read to you, just hit the “Play” button underneath the time dial. The default voice is a natural-sounding (or as natural as a robotic voice can be) male voice. During playback, the voice go through your timeline (oldest to newest) and will read the name of the person tweeting, their tweet, and if there are any links (articles, images, pages, etc), the voice will read them, as long as there is a title to it.
Playback can be paused and picked up, though if you are scrolling through the timeline, the voice will just read whatever tweet is active. Tweet Speaker will continue to play in the background as well, which is nice. It works as a “live podcast” of your tweets.
Currently, this is the only voice available for Tweet Speaker. However, it seems that the developers will be planning to add more in the future, as there is a button next to play that reveals “More Voices Coming Soon!”
For those that use AirPlay, you’ll be glad to know that Tweet Speaker does support that functionality as well. This can be done with the AirPlay button in the bottom right corner (to the right of Play).
In Settings (accessible from the Sources menu), you can adjust the reading speed with a slider, and even have Tweet Marker sync (currently supported in apps such as Twitterrific and Tweetbot). There are even options for what the app should do if you tap or tap-and-hold on a tweet: Safari, Instapaper, and Ask. If you’re interested in the people behind Tweet Speaker, then find out through the About section (complete with links to follow them right on Twitter). There is also support for multiple accounts.
I found Tweet Speaker to be more than enough for my expectations of this kind of app, especially since it seems to refresh automatically after a while. However, I did notice that if you are going through the timeline rapidly, the animation can be a bit choppy. Despite this, the rest of the app works just as I had hoped it would.
There are some suggestions though, as already noted by other users in iTunes. The voice will read off “hash tag,” which seems unnatural and unnecessary. If you’re using the app while driving or running, then you wouldn’t be able to click on the hash tag anyway. Same goes for links – will you really care about a link enough while doing other things that you will go into the app and go back to the tweet to click a link? It would be nice to have these as options instead – some users may want hash tags and links, others may not.
For being a 1.0 app though, Tweet Speaker is extremely well polished. Even though there are other apps that can do this functionality, Tweet Speaker beats the rest by combining ease of use with alluring visuals.
If you’re looking for a good way to get your tweets read to you instead of looking at them constantly, then give Tweet Speaker a try. It also has a gorgeous icon (designed by The Iconfactory) that is worth your $2.99.