If you've ever found yourself longing for a dissertation on the relative merits of Twitter for iPhone and iPad, Twitterrific for iPhone and iPad, and Tweetbot for iPhone — including loading timeline gaps and tweet marker sync, web views, cards and previewing tweets, extensions, gestures, profiles, lists, tweetstorms, direct messages, uploading photos, discover, muting, fave and retweet counts, search, timeline, and new twitter — then you're in for a real treat. You're in for over 20K words of treat! Because that's just exactly what's been done by Federico Viticci of MacStories. The results?
Twitter and the third-party iOS development community owe a lot to third-party Twitter clients. The modern Twitter mobile experience wouldn't have been possible without the early efforts of The Iconfactory and Loren Brichter; with Tweetbot, Tapbots has built a Twitter client for power users that can't be found anywhere else.
But 2014 Twitter is bigger than Twitterrific and Tweetbot. Today's Twitter goes beyond text and a traditional display of the timeline – it encompasses native photos (and soon videos), interactive previews, advanced recommendation algorithms, photo tagging features, and a fully indexed search. I didn't know how much I would come to rely on Twitter's new features until I started using the official app and now, in spite of design details and advanced functionalities that I still prefer in third-party clients, I don't feel like I want to switch back.
My experience is the opposite of Ticci's — I keep trying the official Twitter app and invariably run back to the more coherent and consistent experiences of Tweetbot and Twitterrific. But I understand his thinking now and I can't say that I disagree. If you value what he values, Twitter has made sure you can only get that from them. We're simply choosing to make different compromises right now.
And that's what makes Ticci's opus on Twitter clients well worth the read — regardless of where you end up, same place or new place, it'll make you think, and it'll make your ultimate decision a more informed and better one.
Go get yourself a quintuple espresso and then give it a read.