Twitter for iPhone is here, and those of you who already have Tweetie 2 installed on your phone can get it just by checking the App Store for updates. It brings with it a new icon, some UI refinements, and a few new features, including a couple not available anywhere else. There certainly are benefits to being on the inside.
One of the first (and most notable) changes is the price. Whereas Tweetie 2 was $2.99, Twitter is now a free app for all. And that’s without ads. While I’m slightly sore about having paid for what’s now freely available, I don’t begrudge atebits the money and at least I get the update free. One note of warning, if you upgrade from an existing install you’ll have to re-add all your accounts and any drafts you might’ve saved will be lost. Not fantastic, but not tragic, either.
One thing I’m not too crazy about is the new icon. I realize that official corporate backing required a more recognizable and brand-friendly icon, but the Tweetie icon was one of my absolute favorites. At the very least, I’d have liked them to have kept the same color scheme and cut-out style, while just replacing the word-ballon graphic with the Twitter bird.
Things that are improved are the search function, the addition of recommended user lists and the ability to sign up for a new account right from within the app. Those last two you won’t get anywhere else, either, since no public API exists for either function. Another neat feature is that you don’t have to be logged in to use Twitter for iPhone. Searching and trending topics are available to all via a new interface that launches at first startup if you just want to have a look around without creating an account.
Top tweets are now included in search results as well, which should go a long way toward making them more meaningful, and the retweet function (the official version) has been added to the context menu that comes up for each tweet when you swipe. Finally, some visual changes have been made so that the tweets themselves look more like they do on Twitter.com.
Bottom line, if you liked Tweetie on the iPhone, you’ll like official Twitter incarnation. And if you’ve been waiting for a reason to switch, official support and a price tag of free are two very good reasons. It’ll be interesting to see how the development community responds to this. Tweetie was hard enough to compete with before it became officially sanctioned. Once Twitter for iPad hits, I think apps by third-party sources will have a hard time surviving, except by offering sync services and access to other services like Tweetdeck does.
What do you think? Will you be using Twitter or something else on your iPhone now that it’s out?