Quip by Glasshouse Apps icon

Quip ($0.99) by Glasshouse Apps is a gorgeous new Twitter app for your iPad. “Another Twitter app?,” you ask. Yes, but there is one thing that sets this one apart from the rest — conversations.

I’m not sure about you, but I love to view various conversations on Twitter. It’s a great way to see what has already been said by others, and you are given some context on when you want to join in and take part. That’s actually one of the reasons why I prefer Twitter over all other social networks — it can actually be the most “social” of them all.

Quip by Glasshouse Apps screenshot

However, currently it can be a bit difficult to catch up on conversations that may have taken place earlier in your timeline. They’ll get buried under other tweets, and you probably won’t notice that a tweet is a response to another tweet unless you keep your eyes peeled for a speech bubble. Even then, you will go to another screen to view a conversation, or even “related tweets,” which are responses from people you aren’t following. You know what would be a great way to view conversations? Right from the timeline itself. And that is exactly what Quip has done.

Now, I’ll go right out and say it: Quip won’t replace my Twitter app of choice on the iPad, which is Tweetbot. But it isn’t meant to replace your main app (which is Tweetbot, right?) — it’s actually serves as a great complement to your main Twitter app.

When Quip is launched, you will be given the opportunity to use one of your iOS 5 Twitter accounts, or you can manually add a new one. Once that’s done, you will be shown a brief introduction to using the app while your timeline loads.

There are three parts to the screen in Quip: the navigational sidebar, the timeline view, and the time selector (you can either swipe right-to-left to reveal it, or tap on the clock icon). The time selector allows you to drag along the bar to view tweets from a certain time; it’s a great way to get caught up on your friends if you fall behind.

By default, you will be in the Timeline view (represented by the birdhouse in the sidebar). This will show everything — single tweets, conversations, and retweets. There are also inline image previews, which are a must nowadays. Tapping an image will enlarge it in a popover window. If you look at the app, it appears to be your standard Twitter app.

So how does Quip do things differently? If a tweet has replies to it, you’ll know right away because it will display the avatars of those that replied to the original tweet — including people you do not follow. The app is about the conversation, which does not necessarily mean only between people you know — that’s the magic about social networking.

If you tap-and-hold on the original tweeter’s avatar, it will “complete the conversation,” which means that it is looking for any new replies that may have just shown up. Once it does that, you can tap on the space underneath the tweet — which has a nice timestamp of when the last reply was — to expand all the replies, right in the timeline view.

Oh, and you know how most Twitter apps, i.e. Tweetbot, show the original tweet at the bottom of a conversation view? Quip understands that most people would prefer to read the oldest tweet at the top, and then read tweets in a descending order — so the oldest tweet will show up at the top (and it will be what you see in the timeline view), and newest at the bottom. This is an ingenious way of displaying conversations, and I’m actually surprised that no one else had thought of it earlier.

Retweets are also important, and you will be able to tell a retweet from the rest by the green text. Quip will show you who it was retweeted by, as well as how many others retweeted it as well.

If you’d rather focus on catching up with only conversations you’ve missed, you can do so with the sidebar. The app provides a dedicated view for conversations (speech bubbles) and retweets.

Quip by Glasshouse Apps screenshot

Additionally, there’s a beautiful image viewer. From here, Quip will display any images in your timeline as large thumbnails. You’ll be able to see who originally tweeted it as well (retweets are included here). Tapping on an image will reveal the full picture, and the accompanying tweet will come up from below.

I liked the Direct Messages view in Quip as well. It’s more visual than other apps, since it displays the user’s avatar along with a count of how many messages you’ve exchanged with them. The rest of the app is pretty standard fare, including the ability to search for keywords in your timeline (even if in conversation or retweet view). Composing a tweet will bring up a beautiful, fluttering window for you to write your message in, and you can attach a photo too.

Quip has pull-to-refresh (complete with those cute wings), but I noticed that it doesn’t load up tweets as fast as other clients. This is because every time the app refreshes tweets, it’s “finding conversations,” which will take a few more seconds than normal.

For the first version, Quip is pretty nice. I did notice that the app can be a bit choppy with the scrolling at times, but I know that the app will only get better with time. I am also in love with the interface — it really looks gorgeous.

If you care about conversations on Twitter, definitely make sure to check out Quip. Again, it won’t be replacing your main Twitter app, but it does make a great complement.