Twitter and the App Store. Let's just say that one would be lonely without the other. There are so many Twitter apps out there - and a lot of them are great - that it often becomes difficult to differentiate between them. Tweetie 2 arrives as a full fledged upgrade to one of the most successful Twitter apps available. This release will surely join the original near the top of the charts - if enough of you are convinced to upgrade.
Disclaimer: No commenting on who I choose to follow on Twitter. I like pictures of cats that can't spell, OK?
It's probably on the minds of what most of you are reading this. Why should I pay $2.99 to upgrade an app? Well, for the new features
, of course! Seriously though, the developer explains
that the reason for the charge is that, although it's got the same name as the original, this really is a brand new app. It's been completely re-written from the ground up. To put it simply, it's much more than just a simple point release.
That being said, I could write a thesis comparing Tweetie 2 to the plethora of Twitter apps available on the app store. Instead, I'm going to discuss the great new features that Tweetie 2 introduces. I'm covering the heavy hitters here; for a full bullet list, check out the developer's list in the App Store.
The five tabs across the bottom are pretty standard at this point: Your timeline, @mentions, direct messages, searching/trending, and everything else grouped under a miscellaneous tab. One great addition is an unobtrusive blue orb that glows under each tab when you have a new tweet of that type waiting for you.
Tweetie 2's biggest new feature is arguably its full user interface persistence. The app remembers exactly where you were in the app down to the specific tweet you were viewing every time you quit the application.
The app also h
as full offline support. If you ever find yourself without a connection, Tweetie 2 will still display your timeline from the last time it connected. You can read and Tweet just as you normally would. Any Tweets that you queue up for sending will be saved as drafts. The next time you connect, you can view your drafts and click the convenient "Send All" button to share your witty thoughts with the world.
Conversation threading is also new and a godsend both in your timeline and in direct messages. Now I can finally figure out what in the world my friends are responding to without digging through hundreds of tweets looking for the original.
On top of these great new additions (and there are many more), Tweetie provides access to everything that diehard Twitter users have come to expect: support for multiple accounts, searching, saved searches (they even sync with your saved searches from twitter.com), trending topics, geo-tagging, and more.
All of the features I mentioned above are not just good, they are great. You can't really appreciate the full user interface persistence until you have tried it out for yourself. If you have ever been frustrated by losing what you were doing when you receive a phone call or simply want to go change what song is playing, then you will really love this feature. It's a subtle nicety that just works.
The "compose" screen has also been completely reworked for the better. At all times, you can view which account you are sending from (it can get confusing for users with multiple accounts) and how many of your precious 140 characters you have left. Clicking the character count hides the keyboard and pops up a brand new dashboard that is extremely useful. From here, you can take a picture to attach, add your GPS location, insert a URL, etc. It also gives you the ability to look up user names from your list of followees (is that a word, yet?) so you don't have to remember everyone's username in order to mention them.
I've never really fo
und a reason to search my own timeline, but I'm sure plenty of you have, and Tweetie 2's search is fantastic. At the top of every timeline, whether it be your main timeline, @mentions, direct messages, etc. lies a search bar. Start typing in characters and the app will immediately begin filtering your tweets so you can find exactly what you are looking for (it works exactly the same way iTunes searches your library). It's fast and convenient.
Of course, there are a ton of other minor additions that you can't believe you were living without prior to using this app. You can view previews of pictures posted to twitpic, yfrog, etc. in the tweet itself without even launching the website - a huge time saver. Perhaps my favorite little addition is a new "Reply All" option. Often times, I will see one of my friends reply to someone else, and I will want to chime in on the conversation.
Most apps will let you reply, but it will only automatically add the username of the person to which you are directly replying. The "Reply All" button automatically includes anyone else that was also mentioned in the tweet. Minor, but awesome.
There are a couple of things missing here that I am hoping will be added soon.
First of all, where did the dark theme go? Currently, you're stuck with the black text on white background theme which is just plain boring. Give me back my dark theme!
Second, while I've already touted the awesome user interface persistence, it does introduce one annoyance. When you launch the app after a long period of time, presumably you will have a lot of new tweets waiting for you. By default, you are still presented with the last tweet you read. If you're like me and don't want to read every bit of garbage that has been said since you last checked, get ready to give your thumb a work out as you scroll and scroll all the way to the top.
There's no immediate way to get to your most recent tweet which is definitely a bummer. Add this to the fact that the new way to refresh your timeline is by scrolling past your most recent tweet at the top and holding for a second (hard to explain - take a look at the screenshot to the right). While this is certainly a novel idea, it's limited by the fact that it's often tedious to just get to the top. How about a button to refresh and take me to the most recent tweet? Or maybe allow the user to shake to refresh. Thank you!
As several of you have pointed out in the comments, you can get right to the top by just tapping the status bar. This is an iPhone feature and not something unique to this app.
Finally, there aren't any push notifications. In fact, only a few Twitter apps include them at some level, so Tweetie isn't the only one behind the pack. Notifications for every single tweet is probably overkill (I want to deactivate my account just thinking about that), but at least the option to receive notifications for direct messages would be nice.
The original Tweetie was my default Twitter app. It shared the honor of being one of 16 apps on the first page of my springboard. Tweetie 2 does nothing to change those facts; it improves on the foundation in several ways while maintaining what made the original so great. Yes, some of these features probably exist in competitors' apps, but that's not really the point. Using Twitter becomes a more pleasurable, dare I say "fun", experience with the help of Tweetie 2. If you give it a try, I'm sure you'll completely agree.