The iPhone and Twitter go together like peanut butter and chocolate. Okay, maybe not, but they're both darlings of the weberatti and enjoy popularity, prestige and -- when it comes to the App Store -- a growing plethora of choice combinations.
One such iPhone Twitter app enjoying attention lately is atebit's Tweetie, now on release 1.2. The nice thing for iPhone tweeters is that each Twitter client seems to focus on something different, giving us a good amount of diversity and choice. Tweetie, for example, excels at functionality. You can do a lot with it, perhaps more than any other Twitter client currently shipping. What kind of functionality? Where do I start!
Not only can you create an account, you can create multiple accounts. Awesome for those who want to tweet under, say, a personal name, a blog name, a work name, and a club name, for example.
Once logged in you can see Tweets, which includes all the posts of those you follow, Replies, which includes @(username) posts flagged your way, messages, which includes direct (private) posts just to you, Favorites, which are any posts you've flagged with a star, and More, which includes additional options.
In Tweet view you can scroll to the top if you tap the title bar, just like in Safari. From there you can hit the inline refresh button to get the latest updated. If you get to the end and of the list want to see older tweets, you can tap on Load More.
To write a tweet, tap the new tweet button (looks like the new message button in Mail, but is top right in this interface).
Tap on a Tweet and you get a single-screen view of it along with an info button to see the user's profile, and if it was a reply, a button at the end of the tweet to follow it back up-stream. Handy feature that.
For quick actions, you can swipe from left to right over it to reveal Reply, User, and Star controls.
Simplest first: Star lets you toggle on or off favorite status for the tweet.
Reply will open a new Tweet composer with an @(username) at the ready, as well as buttons to attach a photo or share location. (If you're a new user, Tweetie like any other location-aware app will ask permission to use your location several times -- and you can always revoke that permission later if you become concerned). If you choose to cancel, you also get the option to save a tweet-in-progress as a draft -- very nice.
The user screen gives you an amazing amount of options: you see the @(username), the number of followers, the profile description, and web URL, and can follow or stop following right there. Beneath the general info are options to view Recent Tweets, to Search Twitter for that @(username)'s replies, to see who they're Following and who their Followers are, to Send a Public Reply (@ reply), to Send a Direct Message, and to Block and Unblock a user.
The Reply tab is similar to the Tweet tab but constrains the list to those who have sent you @ replies.
Messages lets you see any tweets sent directly and privately to you, or conversely private messages you sent directly to others. Unfortunately and counter-intuitively, you can't swipe on direct messages to reveal the same controls you get when you swipe on a tweet -- please add this feature! You can hit the Reply button at top right, but there's no "d (username)" that typically signifies a direct message, and the lack of a visual cue makes me paranoid that I may be responding to someone else, or to the public. You can also tap on the message itself to reveal the single message view (along with the option to Mail Link to this Tweet), and the tiny info button top right to load the user profile.
Favorite view constrains the list to only your starred (favorite'd) tweets.
More gives you a metric ton of additional features, including your Profile, the ability to Go to a User, a list of other twitter users Nearby (based on location), popular keyword Trends on Twitter at the moment, and the ability to Search Twitter. Some of these are really nice to have, though both Profile and Go to User failed for me when I tried them.
Some of the finest -- and foulest -- Tweetie functionality is hidden away in the iPhone Settings panel. Exit Tweetie and hop over there to change the default Theme (bubbles is currently the only alternative), increase the font size, and toggle Display Name between full and screen names,
If you use Instapaper and want to save web pages for later viewing, you can toggle support on for that as well.
Advanced settings let you turn Multiple Accounts on and off, control Image Compression via a slider, toggle Landscape Keyboard (which is a full screen landscape keyboard, but the app only remains in landscape when it brings up the keyboard. I'm not a big fan of the landscape keyboard in general, but for those who like it, this alone is a killer feature.
Popularity Enhancer is either a stroke of comedic genius, or is just a really sad essay on the state of the App Store. Suffice it to say, if you loves you some flashlight and fart sounds, turn this sucker on.
Lastly, you can set the amount of tweets that Tweetie loads at launch, either making it start faster, or with a greater amount of data.
Tweetie is simply the most functional Twitter client I've used to date. However, functionality does not always equal usability. Many software designers will tell you what is left out is at least -- if not more -- important than what is put in. Tweetie doesn't fall victim to this completely, but all that functionality does come at the expense of some usability and discoverability. Some users will inevitably prefer simpler, easier to use clients. Others will simply enjoy the power Tweetie provides.
At $2.99, it's more expensive than the free Twitter clients but considerably cheaper than other, paid clients (which can reach $9.99). For my money, the feature set alone makes it a must-have for serious iPhone Twitter users.
If they could make it a tad more consistent (i.e. swipe private messages the way you can tweets), and really give it WebApp class features (can I delete a Tweet? I can do that on the web, couldn't find a way on Tweetie), it would be darn-near invaluable.