Tweetbot 3 for Twitter (iPhone & iPod touch) ($2.99) by Tapbots is the brand new version of the ever-popular Tweetbot that originally came out back in 2011. Yes, this is a brand new app, and for me, it was worth the measly three dollars because this is an app that I use fairly often throughout the day, every day.
I’ve been a user of Tweetbot ever since it first came out, and it has become an indispensable app that I have come to rely on for communication with my contacts on Twitter. I use it to post my own random thoughts, as well as communicate directly with friends, coworkers, and developers through the use of Mentions and Direct Messages. I’ve gotten use out of the app for the past couple of years, so I did not hesitate at all to drop the cash on Tweetbot 3 when it hit the App Store yesterday — after all, I’ve gotten much more value out of the app (and the iPad version) than what I paid for initially.
While I originally loved the custom, robot-like look and feel or the original Tweetbot, I did grow tired of it after a while, but I continued to use the app because it grew to become one of the most feature-rich Twitter apps out there, for iPhone, iPad, and Mac. I did dabble with Twitterrific occasionally because of the design, but I always kept coming back to Tweetbot for features. With Tweetbot 3, Tapbots has dropped their heavy-handed custom UI for a much cleaner, iOS 7-like design that focuses on whitespace, circular avatars, and thin iconography.
The design is the biggest thing. For some, they will only see this as a simple re-skinning of Tweetbot for iOS 7. However, it is so much more than that. Tweetbot 3 has been completely rebuilt, and this is the first Twitter app to take advantage of the 64-bit A7 chip that is found in the iPhone 5s, making it the fastest Twitter client available in the market. Not only that, but the app features beautiful animations throughout, natural physics when viewing images (you can “flick” things away like cards), and a gorgeous parallax effect on profiles when viewing header images.
As someone who was growing tired of the old, heavy design, I have to say that I am really enjoying the new interface. It may take some time getting used to, but this is only natural with such a big change, just as it is from iOS 6 to iOS 7. I do wish that they had shipped a dark theme initially, as the white is blinding when you’re browsing your timeline before bed. Tapbots have already stated that this is coming in an update, so I can only hope that it is sooner rather than later.
Another thing to note about the design is the fact that it uses iOS 7’s Dynamic Text feature. What this means is that there is no in-app setting to change the font size as there was in the previous version. Instead, if users prefer to have a smaller font in the app, they will need to go to Settings > General > Text Size and adjust accordingly.
I am not a big fan of this, as changing this will also change the general font size throughout your entire phone. I did try out a smaller size that looks good in Tweetbot, but I didn’t like how it affected everything else, so for now, I’ve reverted back to the default size, even though it’s a little large for my liking.
While on your timeline, tapping on a tweet will now highlight it in the contrasting, dark color, and it reveals a menu tray underneath the tweet. Just like before, you can reply, retweet, favorite, share tweet, and access more options with the cog. Swiping left on a tweet will reveal tweet details, which shows the original tweet, what it is replying to (if any), any additional replies to the thread, and other fun stuff like the number of retweets and favorites it has received.
Links are tappable right from the timeline, and you can toggle between the mobilizer or web view by tapping on the top header bar when viewing.
What was taken out is the triple-tap shortcut ability, which I used previously to quickly reply to people. I’m not sure why this was removed, but I do hope that Tapbots integrates it again in the future. Another option I would like to see is perhaps swipe to reply, which is a feature I have gotten used to in apps like Felix for App.net.
Search can still be found at the top of the timeline, as well as the toggles for the regular timeline and media view. Unfortunately, there is no longer the option to quickly access your lists by tapping on the timeline header bar, as now Lists can be added to the two customizable tabs on the bottom menubar.
While the developers claim that this is a faster way to access your lists, I’m not sure if that is the case — the two customizable tabs now have to rotate between six different options, and I’m not sure about everyone else, but I change the tabs quite often depending on what I need. I’m not a big lists user myself, but I can see why there is some frustration about this change. I hope that they sincerely listen to user feedback about this and consider changing it in an update.
I also noticed that some people seemed a bit confused as to how you follow and unfollow a person from their profile page. This is rather simple, as you can just tap on the cog on the follow status bar to bring up a slide-up menu with list membership management, Favstar, Disable Retweets, Mute, and Follow/Unfollow. To block or report someone for spam, just go to the bottom of their profile.
A new addition to the profile view, besides the parallax effect for header images, is the “Recent Photos” section, displayed at the bottom. I rather enjoy this, as it’s a quick way to see the latest photos you may have missed, and it shows any image upload service that is supported by Tweetbot, including Droplr, CloudApp, img.ly, and more.
Composing a tweet can be done anytime you see the “Compose” button in the top right corner (it appears everywhere except on profiles). The new composer window features a “what you see is what you get” (WYSIWYG), so you know exactly what you are composing before you actually tweet it out. You can clearly see the tweet you are replying to, and it is easy to add or remove your location, photo, hashtags, and usernames.
By tapping on your avatar in the top right, you can access the accounts screen, which pulls down a beautiful overlay that blurs the background, and you are able to add more accounts and access the settings through the cog. Settings is where you will want to go to toggle the sounds, display (display name and date format, no fonts this time), streaming, quote format, and default browser (Safari, 1Password, or Chrome). The individual account settings, like before, give you options for push notifications and services for URL shortening, image and video uploads, read later, sync (iCloud or Tweetmarker), and mobilizer.
I’ve been using Tweetbot 3 for the past day, and so far, I’m pleased with the purchase. Like I mentioned before, the old design was getting a bit long in the tooth, and it has been long overdue for a major facelift. I’m enjoying the white, but perhaps that’s because I’m on a silver iPhone 5s, but I really do need a dark theme for nighttime use. The animations are gorgeous, and I love the natural physics that make it possible to flick things away as if they were real.
Still, there are definitely some shortcomings with this initial release, such as the quick list access, shortcuts for replying, tied together with iOS 7 Dynamic Text, and the different sounds. While these new sounds are nice, though a bit jarring at first, I still miss the old ones, and it feels weird to not have a sound go off when I interact with every little thing.
Just like with the original version of Tweetbot, it was missing a lot of things in the beginning, but it became better and more powerful over time with plenty of free updates over the course of a few years. I have no doubt that this will be the case with Tweetbot 3 as well.
Ultimately, the decision is up to you whether you buy it or not. However, I feel I am getting value out of the purchase, as it’s an app that I use daily, and quite often throughout the day. I also got more than what the original version was worth through my usage of it, so I feel okay with giving Tapbots another three bucks for their months of hard work. Tweetbot 3 is a welcome breath of fresh air, and definitely one of my top apps this year.
Tweetbot 3 can be found in the App Store for your iPhone for $2.99 for a limited time. The price will go up to $4.99 in the future. Tweetbot for iPad remains in the App Store for $2.99 until it is also revamped for iOS 7.