Twitter for iPad gets new, completely, sliding-panel free redesign

Twitter has finally -- finally! -- updated the iPad interface to the new look and feel both and the iPhone interface have had for a while now. While it's good to see Twitter hasn't abandoned the iPad the way they seemingly have the Mac app, the update is also more of a mixed bag of hurt.

For mainstream users, the ones we've discussed many times before, who have very few followers, follow hundreds of celebrities, don't direct message, but use tons of TV #hashtags, it's likely an good, more consistent and accessible interface. But it's not a great one. To use Apple's term, this is the smartphone app stretched out to tablet size. It doesn't make use of the additional size of the iPad's screen. It just stretches and spaces to fill it. The information density compared to the previous version is way down, and even if arguably that was too much for regular users, this is too little.

For those of us geeks who grew up with Twitter, and with Tweetie before Twitter bought it, and with the bold, innovative interface Loren Brichter created for the iPad app... it frankly sucks. While not everyone liked the sliding panels of Brichter's iPad interface, the skill it took to design, implement, animate, and get the look and feel to that level was inarguably impressive. It was one of the first apps to truly think differently about interactions on the bigger iPad screen. And now it's gone.

Give it a year and few will remember the old Twitter iPad interface. Millions more will have bought iPads, big and maybe small, and started using the new, awkwardly designed, if more consistent new iPad app.

Twitter deserves credit for recognizing their changing user base and transforming with it. The good of the many outweighs the good of the geeks, including this one.

Hopefully it's just a beginning and Twitter will spend some time iterating on this and update again with something that better matches the potential of the iPad with the realities of their new user space. I won't count on it, but I won't count them out. The decisions being made at the top might be vexing for what amounts to legacy Twitter users and developers, but they've got some amazingly talented people there working on this stuff.

The new Twitter for iPad is live now in the App Store.

Free - Download now (opens in new tab)

And if you try it and it doesn't suit your fancy, may I suggest:

$2.99 - Tweetbot - Download now (opens in new tab)

Free - Twitterrific - Download now (opens in new tab)

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.

  • I really liked the sliding panels, it was the only reason I used the official app. I guess it's time to uninstall.
  • Thank God for Tweetbot!
  • Don't forget about TweetCaster, both free and Pro.
  • Totally agree. I wish they had sold out to Apple when the offer was made. All this "monetisation" BS is destroying both the product and the company. The beauty of the original version was that the whole interface could be navigated by a few left-right swipes and a scroll. Now we are constantly pushing buttons and every time we do it takes us out of the app. Extremely bad UI design IMO.
  • I love the new design. Its simple and works great. I still use Tweetbot though because I can sync my timelines. When Twitter gets a clue and adds this feature, I might consider this as my primary iPad app.
  • Finally, I've been waiting for an update for months! THX Twitter! Laurens
  • tried using the old version to see if i shud make the upgrade. old version crashed twice and i said fuck it, upgrade time! new version says "this user does not exist" when i click my profile tab, yet i can still tweet. albeit from my main account, and not my business one.
  • Neh. Sticking with Tweetbot for iPad.
  • The new app is underwhelming to say the least :/
  • Wow, Rene! I figured given your review, I wasn't going to like the update. However, I was quite unprepared for how completely awful it actually is to use. Everything seems to require a lot more touches. You can't see two things at once any more (stream while reading a link). You can't even see what account you're on while you're reading and re-tweeting.