Tweetbot 3 for iOS 7 loses the textures, adds the physics, and keeps all the personality

Tweetbot 3 for iOS 7 loses the textures, adds the physics, and keeps all the personality

When iOS 7 was announced, one of the most frequent questions in the Apple design and development community immediately became - what will Tweetbot do? The thing about Tweetbot, and all of Tapbot's apps, was the way they looked. The personality. That was achieved through heavy, textured design. And iOS 7 was the opposite of that. All the personality was in the physics. And that's just where it's gone in Tweetbot 3 as well.

Bereft of the chrome that so dominated previous versions, Tweetbot 3 is clean and clear. It has iOS 7-style round avatars, of course, and Neue-thin glyphs. But it also has buttons that bounce into place, dialogs that drop from view, backgrounds that blur away, overlays that can be spun around, images that can be tossed away, and other delightful, decidedly iOS 7-touches, that also come off as so very Tapbots.

This is Mark Jardine the designer, and Paul Haddad the developer, having fun again. I remember seeing Paul at a party right after the WWDC 2013 keynote, and instead of dread in his eyes, there seemed to be excitement. Cautious, of course, but palpable.

I've been using Tweetbot 3 since it went into beta, and using it a lot. (I tweet, sometimes too much. I know this about myself.) It has most of the same great workflows that have made it my go-to Twitter triage app of choice for years, but it's opened up now. It breathes. It feels alive. It embraces iOS 7, but architecturally, not just cosmetically.

I would like to see some additional gesture shortcuts to replace the old tap shortcuts that no longer are. A faster way to reply would be great. To be able to see more in the compose window when I reply would be fantastic. The way lists are handled has changed, which breaks list-centric Twitter use cases. Also, accessibility doesn't appear to have been addressed, which is shame.

Tweetbot 3 is iPhone only for now. They've been devoting all their time and effort to achieving what they wanted on the small screen, and haven't looked at the big one yet. But overall, on the iPhone, spectacular.

Twitter isn't making it easy on developers. They have limited tokens, which means one day they won't be able to sell their app anymore. It's artificial, but it's scarcity. Not everyone is going to be willing to pay for a Twitter client anymore, much less an update. And that's okay. For those who want something other than the official Twitter app, something powerful and yet elegant, throw some money Tweetbot's way. You'll be glad you did.

On sale for $2.99 ($4.99 regularly) for a limited time.

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, ZEN and TECH, MacBreak Weekly. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter, App.net, Google+.

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There are 66 comments. Add yours.

Volcom45 says:

Hey Rene, does it support the new Background Refresh iOS7 feature? That would be the deal breaker for me.. Can't believe Facebook still hasn't added that..

FR314 says:

Yup, that is supported.

taguntumi says:

Could anyone tell me what tap shortcuts have been removed? Assuming these are the taps for instapaper, mail, pocket etc.

I guess they needed to do something to avoid being accused of charging for a re-skin.

Following the last discussion thread when they announced they had submitted to the app store, I'll just say I think they have handled this just about as bad as they could have, which follows based on history.

I think I'm going to stick with Echofon which incidentally I hadn't used for years but was updated for free. I also bought Twitteriffic in meantime but that isn't for me - it doesn't have tap shortcuts.

Rene Ritchie says:

Taps are gone. My guess is more gestures will take their place eventually. Multiple taps could cause of lot of input collision.

Munale says:

I'm actually glad it's a new version/price so now I don't have to be tempted to download an ios7 style app

T-Will says:

Pre-iOS 7 I used Tweetbot.
Post-iOS 7 I switched to Twitterrific.
I'm mostly a reader, not a tweeter, so I'm not really looking for any other functionality that I don't already have in Twitterrific.
Tweetbot looks really nice nonetheless.

xiaolvge says:

I personally think that Twitterrific has more comfortable text layout, Tweetbot's is rather dense, with a bit more chrome. I love both though.

uwatto says:

I was almost going to not pay for the update as a matter of principal,but I end up giving in. All I can say is it's the best couple of euro I've spent in a long time. The app is fantastic

Sent from the iMore App

Rene Ritchie says:

I wanted to pay double as a matter of principle. Because I want Tweetbot 4, and if Paul and Mark can't feed their families because people won't pay for 3, we'll never get 4.

Iamanonymous62 says:

Do you have any idea of their finances? Why are you assuming they need the money to "feed their families"? Isn't it possible that they made plenty of money from Tweetbot, and still have plenty of it?

Rene Ritchie says:

I wish! I want to live in that magical rationalization fantasy land as well, if so! Sadly, this world eats money like cheesy poofs.

It's be great if every developer were independently wealthy - bloggers too! - but everyone has bills to pay.

$3 for a piece of software many people use all day every day, seems like a pretty great deal.

Iamanonymous62 says:

I've read your response three times, and I still can't tell if you are personally aware of Tweetbots Developers finances. You say it's a "fantasy" to think that Tweetbots Dev's made decent money, so how much money did they make from Tweetbot?

Iamanonymous62 says:

I did some research Rene, (using xyo.net)

Weightbot - 444k Downloads x $1.99 = $883,560
Pastebot - 141k Downloads x $3.99 = $562,590
Calcbot(iPhone)-75k Downloads x $1.99 = $149,250
Convertbot - 815k Downloads x $1.99 = $1,621,850
Tweetbot(iPhone) - 594k Downloads x $2.99 = $1,776,060
Netbot(iPhone) - 146k Downloads x free = unknown
Calcbot(ipad) - 55k Downloads x $1.99 = $109,450
Tweetbot(ipad) - 268k Downloads x $2.99 = $801,320
Netbot(ipad) - 86k Downloads x free = unknown
Tweetglass(formerly Quip) - 23k Downloads x $2.99 = $68,770

TOTAL = $5,972,850 x 70% = $4,180,995

Even if you subtracted 50% for costs! they still cleared about $2,000,000, I don't think they're going hungry!

rickroberts says:

You’re fussing over $3? Really?

Iamanonymous62 says:

@rickroberts I'm not sure if that is directed at me, disregard my response if not. Where do you read that I'm fussing over $3?
I'm taking issue with Rene's ludicrous suggestion that the Dev's may go hungry if we don't buy the app again.

AMillah says:

The point is, they spent months work of time and energy creating a brand new piece of software. Just because its "Tweetbot 3" in name, doesn't mean its just a simple update of previous work. This is a brand new from the ground up application. That takes time, imagination, and a lot of hard work (and money). I think asking for a very reasonable price is justified.

Renes point isn't that the devs may go hungry. Its that they worked their asses off making a new application. Work that should be rewarded financially, so they can continue to invest in new ideas, new applications, and continue to delight us all.

Have we all really become THAT selfish where we complain about paying what amounts to 3 Cokes for things we enjoy using every day for months and months to come? Remember when software used to cost 20x more? Remember when developers used to charge for upgrades too on PCs? I think the price of applications, and even 3 dollar "updates," is incredibly reasonable compared to where the software industry was 5 years ago.

Iamanonymous62 says:

"The point is, they spent months work of time and energy creating a brand new piece of software. Just because its "Tweetbot 3" in name, doesn't mean its just a simple update of previous work. This is a brand new from the ground up application. That takes time, imagination, and a lot of hard work (and money). I think asking for a very reasonable price is justified."

You guys just don't understand what I'm saying, show me where I said they don't deserve to charge again for Tweetbot 3, show me where I said they're not "justified".

"Renes point isn't that the devs may go hungry." Then why did he say it?

"Its that they worked their asses off making a new application. Work that should be rewarded financially, so they can continue to invest in new ideas, new applications, and continue to delight us all."

Like I said, I'm not going to argue that they're not entitled to charge for this update, why not leave it at that? Why do you and Rene take it further and insist that they "need" to charge for this in order to continue doing what they do? I just think that is naive, I'm sure the Tapbots guys are glad you think that. Not only have they made a lot of money so far, think about how many Twitter users there are, and how many of them are IOS users, we're probably talking more than 100 million potential customers, and it's growing! So, once again, they may be justified in charging for the update, but to argue that they "need" their previous customers to pay again in order for them to continue, well, that's just a bogus sales pitch.

"Have we all really become THAT selfish where we complain about paying what amounts to 3 Cokes for things we enjoy using every day for months and months to come?"

Show me where I'm complaining about the price, I'm not, I'm taking issue with the sales pitch.

" Remember when software used to cost 20x more? Remember when developers used to charge for upgrades too on PCs? I think the price of applications, and even 3 dollar "updates," is incredibly reasonable compared to where the software industry was 5 years ago."

So do I! So why do you have to use a bogus sales pitch to sell a reasonably priced product? They'll go hungry if they don't charge again! LOL! Yeah right.

websyndicate says:

Hmmm remind me of Twitterific. Lost of the shortcuts are gone.....Not really happy with the update. Tweetbot 3 version 1.0 with the iOS skin :/

I like the old version of Tweetbot More I think.

djstarion says:

The only thing I don't like is having the font size tied into the iOS 7 dynamic text size. If you make it smaller then it looks better in Tweetbot but everywhere else is tiny.

SnapThrow says:

+2 for font size adjustment within app

Anfaal Ridhuan says:

+3

Smaller fonts adjustment just like the old version. I really really need that function. The fonts are just too big!

MadamRock says:

According to the blogpost here (http://tapbots.com/blog/news/tweetbot-3-questions-and-answers), font adjustments are coming as well as a night mode (hallelujah!)

CrzyP says:

So basically they are asking for more money just for a re-skinned version what is already out there. What's the point? Also, iPhone/iPod only? I think I'll check out Twitterrific instead. What a letdown.

Rene Ritchie says:

No, they're charging money for the last many months of their lives they spent rebuilding Tweetbot from the ground up.

No one's being forced to pay, but $3 even being a question is why we may not have any more great apps, Tweetbot or Twitterrific included, one day in the near future.

No one will be able to afford to make them.

Nathan Bael says:

Or everything will be crappy freemium stuff. I don't get the sense of entitlement people have.

Iamanonymous62 says:

Tweetbot has made over $2,000,000 in about 2.5 yrs! I think well see plenty of Dev's trying for that kinda cash, I don't see apps going away anytime soon.

justinkoehn says:

This is kind of a grey space for me. I have been a long time tweetbot user and bought the previous version on both iPhone and iPad. I know it's only 6 bucks between those. I am fully supportive of developers and I semi understand charging for a X.0 release, but I cannot bring myself to pay for the app all over again just because iOS 7 was released. I honestly think I am going to roll with the versions I have. It just doesn't feel right. Anyone else feel like this?

Caballera says:

I feel the same way. I even paid $20 bucks for the Mac version. A lot of other apps didn't charge 'extra' when they went to iOS7.

Rene Ritchie says:

Many apps went to new versions and charged again before iOS 7. Far as I can remember, Tweetbot 2 was a free update.

Don't know about you, but I sure do appreciate getting paid when I work :-/

Caballera says:

yes, true. I ended up buying it and you're right it's worth it.

justinkoehn says:

Totally agree Rene :-) I'm just saying out of all of the apps i have purchased, this is the only one that has made the jump to a paid upgrade. While i type that though i thought of something.... Maybe for some reason we have been trained over the last few years of the AppStore model that all updates should be free. That seems wrong actually. Bug fixes, yes those should be free. But you are right. They put a lot of work into the rebuild and are deserving of getting reimbursed for their hard work. For the most part the current AppStore model basically lets developers get paid that first time and never again see any revenue from its users beyond the first purchase, minus IAP of course. I rescind my original comment!!!

Just purchased and WOW! This looks way better :-)

Nathan Bael says:

Agreed. Only issue I have is separate iPad and iPhone apps. I like universal apps.

Iamanonymous62 says:

Oh they're getting paid, the app has made over $2,000,000 in 2.5 yrs!

Derrick4Real says:

I'm with you. But i'm on ios 6 so it doesn't affect me. I prefer the old one. The new version looks like the official app. And all i do is tweet & read. Any twitter app satisfies me that. But if i was on ios 7 i'd use the official app or keep using the old one cause i was perfectly satisfied with that.

SockRolid says:

Tweetbot is one of those apps that went way too far with graphics. I seem to recall an Iterate episode in which their engineer admitted that they regretted the whole "robot" branding and heavy UI layer. Glad to see that they've cleared (almost) all of that out.

T-Will says:

People throw out the term "re-skin" like it's a simple flip of a switch. It's major work for the developer, and well worth the money (if you haven't already spent money on an alternative client).

Nathan Bael says:

I agree it is major work and devs should be paid, however, I don't agree that it is always worth the money. Especially going from iOS 6 vs 7 look.

aaquino3 says:

wait a damn minute...I have to pay for a new one? Wacko!!

counterculture says:

Anyone have any idea why it's not showing up in the iOS App Store? I've searched for it (yes, everything is spelled correctly), but it only shows up on my Mac..

Rene Ritchie says:

App Store search takes a long time to propagate. Use the direct link in the article.

counterculture says:

Yeah that's what I just ended up doing. Couldn't wait any longer for this update, $3 or not!

askbal says:

I hope they add new gestures to enable the list-centric workflow again. They had single handedly made twitter lists useful and this was the main/unique feature that made me use their app as my first choice twitter client.

sting7k says:

I've been looking at my update list nearly hourly all week. I knew it would be a paid new version. Worth everyone of those 299 pennies.

Jazzkevin says:

Any word if they will release Netbot for app.net users?

Sent from the iMore App

offdahglass says:

I bought it. It's only $3. I would have liked to see an option for a darker theme. That's all.

Sekelani Zwambila says:

I'm loving it. I've been using Tweetboot since the first release. This is a good upgrade. Loving the UI

Sent from the iMore App

psiclne says:

$3...fine. But Im gonna be pissed if theres gonna be a "New" OS X version.

crankerchick says:

Disappointed that it still doesn't support tweet notifications. I understand updates take time, it's rebuilt for iOS 7 and yada yada. Just sucks to lose features and not get long clamored for features added. We shall see how background refresh goes for both loading new tweets and keeping timeline in sync across devices. It looks nice, but I await useability updates. A people search still doesn't show verified users. Mentions still don't search outside of who you follow and give a few suggestions like the stock app does, and then when you choose "Find User" you have to type your query all over again. Why can't it insert what you already started typing into the search field?

Heisenberg says:

Loving the update. Would definitely like to be able to use smaller font in just the app itself. One thing: the blue in the icon is too contrasted. Needs a darker shade of blue.

Galley says:

Yeah, the icon is much lighter than the original. It doesn't look right.

Derrick4Real says:

I'm on ios 6 so i can't update but I prefer the old one. This looks surprisingly like the official app though. Which by the way i have installed but never use. It's actually not bad. I only read and tweet. Most twitter apps do the job fine so i can't justify rebuying this. Then again. I don't need to.

Hey-Zeus says:

I'm a Twitter reader most of the time. I hardly ever tweet. Usually just the odd reply/retweet.

I currently use the default Twitter app. Is there a better app for my needs? What does it bring that Twitter doesn't already have? Serious question.

ransonju says:

My usage is similar to yours and there is one main difference that I pay for. The free (official) twitter app will load the "gaps" in my timeline and automatically send me to the top (most recent) tweet in the gap. Tweetbot allows them to load from the "bottom up" so I can continue to read sequentially. This is worth the $3 to me.

Hey-Zeus says:

I had this issue if I loaded the gaps when they were at the bottom of the screen. If I loaded them at the top of the screen I could continue to read sequentially.

Anyway, I spent the $3 to see what it's like. Cheaper than a coffee.

shinuyuki says:

Pfffffft. They are missing so many features. I can't believe they want me to pay for less features. Screw them. I'm going to keep using my Tweetbot 2.0.

Sent from the iMore App

TheBiggmann says:

I bought it, even though I won't get to use it until there is an iOS7 jailbreak. That being said, I'm kind of regretting it without ever even using it solely because I just found out they got rid of taps. That was my favorite part of Tweetbot, hands down. The taps and swipes (not sure if those are still there or not) made the Tweetbot experience.

jwalker007 says:

There is a dark theme and font adjustment once you open the tweet. Just pull down for the settings.

yahtzee says:

You are talking about previous version of Tweetbot, right? Not Tweetbot 3.

peternou says:

I'm on iOS7 on iPhone 4S hardware and have terrible performance issues with all the new interface fanciness. will tweetbot 3 run/make sense on my old hardware?

/peter