iPhone Gems: The Complete Guide to All 33 Twitter Apps | iLounge Article

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iPhone Gems: The Complete Guide to All 33 Twitter Apps

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Tweetsville from Tapulous

Tweetsville ($4) is another Twitter client in the same general style as Tweetie and Twitterfon. Separate sections are provided for your general timeline of users you are following, direct messages, replies and favorites. The initial button layout provides access to the general timeline, direct messages, trends, and search, while the More button can be used to access replies, favorites, your own posting history and the Tweetsville settings section. Like Twitterfon, Tweetsville also provides unread counters over the appropriate buttons to indicate any unread tweets in each section, however it does not highlight the new tweets.

 

Unlike other Twitter apps, Tweetsville allows you to reorganize the bottom button layout in much the same way the built-in iPod app does. Tapping More and then the Edit button which appears in the top-right corner allows you to reorganize the four primary buttons shown on the button bar.

 

Direct messages are displayed in Tweetsville in much the same way as Twitterfon and the built-in SMS app, with the timeline showing only the most recent message from each user. Tapping on the message opens an iChat-style conversation window displaying the DM conversation.

 

Tweetsville provides the ability to display Twitter trends and perform general searches of your own. In addition, however, Tweetsville also provides a significantly enhanced search capability that can be accessed from the “Advanced” button in the top-right corner of the Search screen. From here, you can refine your search by looking for the absence or presence of certain words, searching for specific phrases, searching by Twitter user, geographic location, date range, and even filtering by whether a tweet contains specific emoticons or links. Unfortunately, Tweetsville does not provide any means to save these searches, or even call them up from a search history.

 

Viewing an individual tweet provides options to send a public reply, re-post the tweet, send a direct message to the originator, mark the tweet as a favorite or view the user’s profile.

 

From the user’s profile page, you can view their page on the mobile-optimized Twitter website using the built-in browser, view their previous tweets, view their favorites, or view who they are following or their followers. You can also choose to follow or stop following the current user.

 

In Tweetsville, links within tweets are active from the main timeline views as well as when viewing a specific tweet. While this may be convenient, it also means you have to be slightly more careful where you tap to open a tweet, since tapping on a highlighted link will take you directly to that link—either another Twitter user’s profile page if you’re tapping on a user ID, or to the appropriate web page in the built-in browser if you’re tapping a URL. The built-in browser does not provide any landscape viewing mode, nor any integration for e-mailing or reposting links—only a button to open the page in Mobile Safari is available.

Tweetsville’s settings are accessed from within the application itself, and provide the ability to change the Tweetsville timeline theme between a simple in-line theme or an iChat-style “chat bubbles” theme, as well as configuring a different Twitter account and choosing whether to display screen names or use IDs.

 

Tweetsville’s most appealing feature seems to be its robust advanced search capabilities, providing simple access to advanced search features without having to deal with complicated search tags within a text-only search field. Users who do a lot of searching on Twitter may find this feature alone makes Tweetsville stand out from some of the other Twitter apps. However, beyond this specific feature Tweetsville provides very little to justify its $4 price tag for general Twitter use in comparison to other less expensive and even free offerings. iLounge Rating: B.

Twittelator / Twittelator Pro from Big Stone Phone

Twittelator is available in two versions: Twittelator, a free “Lite” version and the $5 Twittelator Pro. Both provide an extensive feature set and a slightly different layout from the other Twitter applications that we have looked at. Rather than using a button bar at the bottom of the screen, Twittelator organizes your timelines into “groups” which are accessed from a list and browsed in a manner similar to iPod playlists.

 

In addition to the usual lists for your normal timeline, Twittelator also includes options for viewing the public timeline, favorite tweets for yourself or your friends, recent tweets from specific friends, and a view for “featured tweeters.” Twittelator also provides the ability to “bookmark” specific people you are following for quick access to their specific timelines.

When viewing a timeline, you can tap on the reply link to reply to a tweet, or double-tap on a tweet to open a link from within that tweet. Tapping on a user’s avatar from the timeline view will display more information about that particular user, including his profile information, who he is following, and links to reply to him, send him a direct message, bookmark him, view his favorites, homepage, recent tweets, or choose to follow or stop following him.

 

Unlike Twitterrific, where the ad-supported free version is essentially identical to the paid version, Twittelator Pro provides significantly more features in comparison to its “Lite” version. Pro features include support for multiple Twitter accounts, the ability to update your Twitter location using the iPhone’s GPS, customizable color themes, support for emoji and other glyphs, viewing trends and considerably more.

 

When posting a tweet, you can post a map link to your present location or post a link to a photo either from your iPhone camera or your saved photo library. A friends button is also provided to allow you to look up and insert a reference to another Twitter user you are following.

 

If you’re using Twittelator Pro you can also access a library of glyph characters to insert in your post. Note, however, that these may not render properly in other Twitter clients.

 

Both Twittelator versions provide an advanced searching interface similar to that found in Tweetsville. Tapping the “Advanced” button from the search window reveals additional searching options, including advanced word and phrase searching, searching on screen names or tags, and searching by date, location, or other options.

 

Twittelator’s options screen can be accessed by tapping the gear button in the top-right corner of the main Groups listing. Twittelator’s options are relatively basic; Twittelator Pro provides significantly more here, including options for changing your color theme, controlling the number of tweets that are loaded on startup, disabling auto-capitalization and auto-correction when posting, using higher resolution photos and different photo sharing services, plus much more.

 

Both versions of Twittelator provide one additional unique feature in the form of an “Emergency Button”—when this feature is enabled, a “panic button” appears in the bottom button bar which will automatically post a link to your current location with an emergency message to your Twitter timeline. Since we’re talking about posting an emergency message to Twitter, rather than sending an e-mail or making an auto phone call, the usefulness of this feature is going to be largely dependent on who your followers are. Realistically, however, this feature seems like more of a gimmick than anything else; common sense would suggest that one would be more sensible to use the iPhone to actually call 911 in an emergency situation, rather than posting to Twitter for help. If your followers include a local police department or two, perhaps you’ll feel otherwise.

 

Both versions of Twittelator also provide support for posting tweets from Mobile Safari and other external applications. Like Tweetie and TwitterFon, a Safari bookmarklet must be created manually for Safari integration, and third-party applications must specifically integrate with Twittelator in order to use it from these applications.

Twittelator (Lite) is fully functional by itself, although other than a unique interface it doesn’t really provide much in the way of features compared to other Twitter applications, and has clearly been released as a “demo” for its big brother. Twittelator Pro, on the other hand, clearly tries to be the swiss-army knife of Twitter apps on the iPhone, packing a multitude of features. In our opinion, however, the number of bells and whistles in Pro, combined with the overall interface design, makes it feel like a much too cumbersome and cluttered application. This is exacerbated by confusing interface inconsistencies which make the application frustrating to navigate; for instance, when viewing a timeline, the “Groups” button always returns you to the top-level Groups listing, rather than the last screen you were viewing, with no other option provided to simply return to the previous screen. Therefore, if you were viewing a user’s profile page and choose to view a list of their favorite tweets, instead of being returned to the user’s profile page when you are done viewing that timeline, you are taken back to the main top-level groups listing, effectively losing your place. The “lite” version of Twittelator may be worth a look considering its free price tag, but in our opinion Twittelator Pro needs some serious additional polish for its $5 asking price. iLounge Rating (Twittelator): B-. iLounge Rating: (Twittelator Pro): C+.

Tweetion from Joggame, Inc.

Tweetion ($4) places an emphasis on searching Twitter. When you run Tweetion, the first screen you are presented with is a search screen, allowing you to enter a query or tap on a trending topic. Tabs appear at the top of the search screen for entering your query, viewing your query results, or viewing a history of previous searches.

 

Buttons at the bottom allow you to view recent messages from those you are following in a timeline view, adjust the application’s settings, view or change your profile picture, or access additional views.

 

You can compose a new tweet by tapping on the compose button in the top-left corner of any screen. This screen allows you to attach a photo link from either the camera or saved photos roll. Unlike other Twitter apps, however, there is no ability to post location information. One unique feature of Tweetion is that it allows you to also optionally update your Facebook status when posting a tweet, provided you have entered your Facebook credentials in the application’s settings. Since Facebook provides its own Twitter integration that can be used for this purpose, this feature is only marginally useful in that it allows you to control which tweets are also applied to your Facebook status.

 

The timeline view within Tweetion is extremely spread out, making it difficult to view even two tweets on a single screen without scrolling. Links can be opened in Tweetion’s built-in browser, and individual tweets can be marked as favorites or replied to, but that’s about it. Oddly, a shamrock icon/button is displayed to indicate whether or not you are following a user, and you can follow or stop following a user simply by tapping on this button. This is a completely non-intuitive use of symbology and it took a bit of testing to figure out what the shamrock button actually does. Browsing Tweetion’s built-in help does explain this function, however this is listed under the FAQ section at the bottom, rather than in the help section on actually viewing messages.

 

Double-tapping a user’s avatar will offer to either display her bio or her recent tweets. Their bio is shown as a basic page with no other options, and recent tweets are opened in a web browser view, rather than in Tweetion’s own timeline view.

 

Tweetion’s settings screen is similarly unappealing in its layout and design, with options again spread way too far apart to be particularly useful, requiring excessive scrolling.

 

The fourth button, labelled profile, seems to exist primarily for viewing or changing your Twitter profile picture. While this is another feature unique to Tweetion, the layout and implementation is again quite odd.

 

For some reason, Tweetion is also one of the slowest applications we’ve seen—it’s extremely sluggish when changing pages or views. This may be due to animated effects used for switching between screens, however we have seen similar effects successfully executed in other applications without the lag time exhibited by Tweetion. Ultimately, Tweetion comes across as very poorly-designed in comparison to the other Twitter apps we’ve looked at, and while this may be understandable for a free application, it’s almost laughable for a $4 asking price. iLounge Rating: D-.

 

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Comments

1

Nice to see my app of choice twitterfon being highly recommended by ilounge :)

Posted by Alicia Bankhofer on February 25, 2009 at 5:11 PM (CST)

2

I disagree. ;) No way does Twitterrific Pro get a D. It’s missing some advanced features and doesn’t filter replies. BUT it’s the best app for straightup reading and occasional replies - both UI and stability. Tweetie crashed on me today and also posted a tweet before I finished typing it. Never have I had that happen in Twitterrific Pro. (My top three are those two and Twitterfon.)

There are actually more apps than just these for accessing Twitter. This looks to be a list of *deicated* Twitter apps.

Posted by DaveZatz on February 25, 2009 at 7:28 PM (CST)

3

I wish the ratings didn’t take the price tag of the apps into consideration, something they obviously do here.

Either that, or break down each app’s rating into the various criteria provided.

I’d be happy to pay up to $50 for an app whose user interface, user friendliness, and feature repertoire all score A+, than for a $1 app that has fewer features, poorer UI, and lacks in user friendliness.

Don’t rate the price. Just rate the rest, and leave it up to the individual consumer to decide whether the price tag is worth it or not.

Posted by Finnyboy on February 26, 2009 at 8:24 PM (CST)

4

#3, we give the price the weight we feel it deserves. No one is paying $50 for iPhone apps, and we have no interest in seeing that change by ignoring the importance of price relative to the performance of apps we review. In other words, feel free to re-rate the products for yourself based on the rest of the information provided, and whatever your own criteria may be for balancing their weight.

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz in East Amherst, NY, USA on February 26, 2009 at 9:50 PM (CST)

5

Tried a few mentioned here, settled on TwitterFon, more feature rich than it seems on the surface, particularly like the GeoLocation search feature.

Posted by Dave Fowler on February 27, 2009 at 5:08 AM (CST)

6

With regards to the pricing considerations in the ratings, bear in mind that if we really did find a $10 app that did sufficiently more than a $1 app, the ratings would definitely reflect that.  However, when you have a more expensive app that does nothing more than the free options that are available, this is reflected in the rating as well.

For example, both Tweetie and Twitterfon received the same very high rating, despite Twitterfon being free, since Tweetie delivers value for its $3 price tag.

On the other hand, Twitterrific Premium received a D simply because it delivers nothing for its steep price, particularly considering the developer also offers a nearly-identical ad-supported free version. If you like Twitterrific enough that you want to buy the Premium version as a “donation” to the developer, them by all means feel free to do so, but we can’t in good faith state that the app provides good value for your money in comparison to the rest of the options out there.

To put it another way: The higher the price tag of an app, the more we expect from it. Our ratings reflect where apps fail to meet those expectations.

Posted by Jesse Hollington in Toronto on February 27, 2009 at 6:41 AM (CST)

7

I use both tweetie and twitterfon and I am curious about something.

Does twitterfon support multiple accounts?

I didn’t see it in the review and no place online says it.

does anyone know?

Posted by Mike Coogan on March 13, 2009 at 11:43 PM (CDT)

8

I have only used TwitterFon so I don’t know if the rest have this problem… but it crashes easily (especially with links to some particular sites like the Wall Street Journal tweets).  It would be great if it didn’t crash.  I guess for the price though I shouldn’t complain because otherwise it is an excellent app.  But for the crashing issue it well deserves that high rating.

Posted by Rufus on March 24, 2009 at 10:07 AM (CDT)

9

This great review is in desperate need of a refresh…Twittelator and Twitterrific are both at version 2.0…Twitterrific with a huge price drop as well.  Meanwhile, Tweetie and TwitterFon haven’t changed, while Twittelator offers more options than any other iPhone Twitter app, and Twitteriffic’s updates now make it equal or better than TwitterFon or Tweetie, in my opinion.

Let’s have a Part 2 update of this review.  It was a good one!

Posted by Doctor on May 20, 2009 at 11:22 PM (CDT)

10

Agree with #9 go for part2 of this review, not only a lot of upgrades, also new very interesting apps like Landscape Twitting!

Posted by Kigonjiro on July 22, 2009 at 4:48 PM (CDT)

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