March 3, 2011
The official Twitter for iOS client receives some very grateful user interface re-arrangements for the compose tweet pane, adds the express trend access of Quick Bar to your timeline, brings auto-complete, improves photo uploading, and now offers friend finding using your contacts list. The Quick Bar is a new feature for quickly viewing and searching trending topics, and it's that semi-transparent dark gray band at the top of the main timeline section. Swipe left or right on the Quick Bar to navigate the list of top ten trends, which is now localized in Twitter for iOS v3.3. These are the same topics listed under the Search section, just quicker access. Of note, I initially experienced some trouble with the app recognizing my swipes / flicks properly. Unfortunately, the Quick Bar isn't just a feature addition but also a way for Twitter to add revenue for their free service and app. How does this work? The Quick Bar includes the advertiser Promoted Trends entries. That's likely why there doesn't appear to be a way to disable the Quick Bar in settings. As far as my short use of it thus far, it wasn't distracting enough for me to complain about; only one of the trending topics was a Promoted Trend. Despite the Quick Bar being the highlight of Twitter for iOS v3.3, I feel that most will probably appreciate the new @username and #hashtag automatic completion feature. The auto-complete works in addition to tapping the "@" button and selecting from friends, followers, and those you're following or tapping the "#" to select from previously used hashtags. Speaking of creating a new tweet, the compose tweet pane has been improved and tidied up quite significantly. Instead of displaying the insertion options in a 2x3 grid at the bottom of the new tweet area, the updated UI has them placed neatly in a minimal line below the text entry box. Location, photo, and video placeholder previews are also cleanly shown below that. Tapping the camera icon will hide the keyboard to show them. I most certainly welcome it for the iPhone UI, where efficiency and tidiness is key. The update description also mentions iChat / SMS bubble-style conversation layouts for direct messages, although, I was seeing that before I updated. The ability to find friends using your phone contacts, cleaner settings pane, and some bug fixes round out today's update. Twitter is a universal app compatible with iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch running iOS 3.1 or later, and is available as a free download in the App Store. What are your thoughts on these new features? Any reaction to the lack of control for the Quick Bar, or that Twitter is now pushing advertising content?