I've been using the Tweetbot 4 beta for a while and it manages to be both the same and different. I was originally drawn to Tweetbot on iPhone because Twitter bought and eventually ruined Tweetie, which to me was an ideal way to rapidly triage Twitter on the go. And Tweetbot captured that same feeling perfectly. Yet Twitter's official apps, as convoluted as the interface became, kept adding new features and some of them were compelling. Tweetbot 4 for iOS, which now runs on iPhone and iPad, goes a long way to closing that gap while maintaining what makes it such a great experience.
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The biggest change, iPad interface aside, is the new interactions tab that gives you a graphical and list-based view of today's statistics and activity, including favorites, retweets, and followers. The Stats tabs, as data visualizations go, is clean and colorful and, for analytics nerds, it strikes a good balance between details and trend. The Activity tab shows who did what, so if someone favorited, quoted, or otherwise acted on your tweet, you can see who and when.
Personally, it's not something I use very often but I know it's important to a lot of people and even for occasional use it's great to have ready and available. I do wish the big star, recycle, and person added buttons were tappable, so you could quickly bring up a list of just those interactions, but the yellow and blue bars beneath individual tweets do just that at the single-item level. I like this view so much, I wish it was everywhere.
There are some changes to how the profile view shows your own activity now as well. Some of it is formatting, like how followers, following, tweets, and listed are displayed. Some is content, like a half-dozen recent tweets appearing above recent media. You can't launch favster.fm by double tapping the tab glyph anymore, and that might take some getting used to, but the new analytics supplants a lot of that anyway.
The only other large cognitive change I've run into is how replies are stacked in the detail view of a tweet. If you go into a reply, there tweet that prompted it is now on top. It takes a moment to make sense, especially since it's inverse of the reverse chronological list that's so common in Twitter, but it makes sense in context. There'll always be a debate when it comes to prioritizing consistency vs. context, because you can't always serve both, and sometimes context will win.
Tweetbot 4 is being offered as a new app. Because Apple still doesn't provide any mechanism for developers to charge for upgrades, even at a discounted price, creating new apps is the only way they can afford to continue making apps and feeding families. It's awkward and annoying for everyone, but it is what it is and won't change until Apple changes it.
There's a lot more to talk about but I'm sadly time-crunched by iOS, watchOS, iPad mini 4, OS X El Capitan, and iPhone 6s Plus reviews. So, I'll dive into design details and iPad implementation in a follow up.
Meanwhile, if you want to update to Tweetbot 4 you can grab the new app at the discounted price of $4.99. (It'll go to $9.99 when the sale ends, but through the clever use of bundles existing Tweebot owners will still be able to upgrade while only paying the difference between original and current purchase price.)
For an app I use all day, every day, that's pennies a day and I'll happily throw money Tapbots' way so that, one day, I'll get Tweetbot 5.
- $4.99 on sale - Download now
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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.