Discover more, search more, and get notified more with updated Twitter for iPhone

Twitter for iPhone isn't your early adopter, power user app. It's not designed fro the gadget nerd with tons of followers who engages in non-stop repartees with like-minded friends, peers, and colleagues all day. It for the new mainstream Twitter user who has very few followers, follows tons of celebrities, and is looking for more and better ways to find something... anything... to do on Twitter. Like it or not, since the last redesign, that's the the official Twitter app's target user now. And that's who they're improving things for with this update.

Discover promises "more interesting and timely content that matters to you". Basically that means you see a paid placement on top (mine's a Yahoo! add I could not possibly care less about out), a hashtag (mine's #NewFront, which is impenetrable to me), a trending tweet (mine is something about an Ex-Liberian president that it says is trending but I've never expressed any interest in), a trio of recent friend activities, including their retweets, follows, and favorites, a trio of additional trending hashtags and terms, and a trio of people Twitter recommends you follow.

Activity appears below the redesigned stories in Discover. Now you can tap any story once to see Tweets about a particular trend or news article. You can then read the entire story or join the conversation by replying, retweeting or favoriting related Tweets.

Again, I'm not the Lady Gaga following nouveau Twitter type, I'm not their target user, but all of this is completely lost on me. This tab could disappear tomorrow and my enjoyment of the app would only increase.

Twitter Discovery

Search has also been improved, and claims to be simpler and more error-proof with different spellings and related terms. The search box is present in both the Connect and Discover tabs, the former of which prioritizes @names and full names, the latter of which prioritizes #hashtags or keywords. You can also get a search history in the Discover tab.

We’ve also made a few improvements specifically for iPhone: when you tap the search box in Discover, you’ll see your most recent queries. You can also go directly to someone’s profile when searching for a username in Connect.

I usually prefer one search box to rule them all, Twitter optimizing different search boxes for different types of content works well, even if it adds extra cognitive load by making users choose the "proper" tab before they can query the system.

Notifications have also been made more robust, and you can now be alerted to tweets, retweets, and follows, in addition to the usual @mentions and direct messages (DMs). It brings Twitter for iPhone up to parity with some other clients, but is also a power user feature in what's clearly a mainstream targeted app. Unless Lady Gaga is retweeting and favoriting me left and right, this feature would have felt far more at home in the older version of Twitter.

Overall, the user interface remains gorgeous, the functionality solid, the implementation silky smooth, and the focus on Twitter's new mainstream audience commendable. It's just not the good old Twitter many of us knew and loved, and it's a little sad there's no official Twitter Pro app that could have somehow melded the new experience with the old, more power-user centric functionality and layout.

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Source: Twitter blog

Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.