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When our desire to connect and communicate with one another crashed headlong in to the digital behemoth that is the Internet, we ended up with Twitter: a true 21st Century social phenomenon.
Like a chimerical parrot, each head squawking a different one-liner, Twitter can seem odd to the casual observer. Allowing users to post ultra-short updates, a quick tour ’round Twitter will find normal folk, celebrities and even politicians rubbing shoulders and swapping verbs (even TAB is tweeting away).
As a frequent tweeter, I decided it was time to identify the ultimate Twitter app for the iPhone. Diving headlong in to the App Store, I emerged from its murky depths with 12 different apps.
Read on for the definitive roundup of iPhone Twitter apps available from the iTunes App Store including a comparison table and screenshot gallery.
Everything in one app, including multiple accounts, favorites, deleting, following, trends, location, re-tweets, photos and more. Notably, Tweetie is also blazing fast. The interface is lacking in visual-flair, leaving it feeling a little empty, though. Still, it’s robust, quick and all the features to tweet on the go are present and correct.
Although there’s no location-based functionality or multiple accounts, everything else is present and correct, from retweeting to trends, and search to favorites. The overall presentation is polished yet refined, with a simple box-style list layout or the option to change this to a Tweetie/iChat style bubble design. For four bucks though, Tweetsville has either got to step up to the plate with some new features or back down and drop that price a little.
With its iPhone SMS-influenced design, iTweets is an ultra-simple solution, perhaps most appropriate for the infrequent tweeter (with few friends). There’s no photo-support, no trends, no search: just one stream of tweets. Put simply, there are better apps than this available for free. And the app icon is, frankly, a vile blemish on the vibrant and youthful face of my lovely iPhone.
Twittelator Pro ($4.99)
As the name suggest, this is the Pro version of Twittelator (a free app). The app is painfully rich in features, unfortunately to its detriment: it feels cluttered and confusing. The app may be rich in functionality (there’s even a help button, perfect for those Jack Bauer emergency situations), but it’s poor in accessibility and, ultimately, a disappointment.
Twitterrific Premium ($9.99)
The premium version features an alternative theme and is ad-free. The adverts in the free version, though, are unobtrusive and serve as handy bookmarks when scrolling through unwieldy streams (which helps as scrolling is very jerky). Light on features, the appealing, functional interface design and super-cute tweeting sound are plus points. Certainly not worth ten bucks, especially compared to the competition.
From the guys behind Tap Tap Revenge, comes a gorgeous looking Twitter app. It was the first one I used for iPhone but I eventually abandoned it due to various unsolved issues with the obligatory Tapulous ID. Like Twitterific, it’s light on features but has bags of character and also includes an impressive tweet-stream from nearby strangers.
The focus in this app is on basic features delivered in a speedy, stable package. There are only four screens in the app: a stream of tweets from the folks you follow; replies to you; direct messages; and search (including location-based search). TwitterFon feels a little bare but for purist tweeters, it’s the perfect little package.
An iPhone version of a functional and compact desktop Twitter-client, NatsuLion is robust and smooth with a simple feature-set for light tweeters. Like TwitterFon, there are four main screens, although instead of search, NatsuLion incorporates a somewhat useless unread tweets page.
Twittervision incorporates an almost useless but nevertheless impressive world map feature: watch people tweet live across a map of the planet. Strange, hypnotic and downright fun. This app is the weird guy at the party who insists on showing you his magic trick — a little odd at first but ultimately amusing and impressive.
Perfect for iPhone tweeple with a penchant for amateur photography, this app is focused purely on posting pics. With its curious name, Gyazickr allows users to take a photo using the iPhone camera or pick one from the camera roll. Plus, there’s a funky little slideshow that displays other images recently posted to Twitter.
Forget those sheeple and the constant blah blah of their dreary monotonous lives. The world needs to know about all the important things that you do. This app has no follower feed, no friends, no features: just a text box for you to post directly to Twitter. That’s right, this app is the most efficient way to tell the world about the sandwich you just ate for lunch.
Like JustUpdate, Twitfire is focused solely on getting your message out to the Twitterverse. The app incorporates a mini-browser for posting links, GPS-button for location tweets and access to the iPhone camera for posting photos, all wrapped up in a minimalist icon-driven interface.
iPhone Twitter App Comparison Table
Before I began my epic journey on the trail of the ideal iPhone Twitter app, my tweeting tool of choice was Twitterrific (the free version, not the vastly over-priced premium edition). Now, after trawling through all the available apps, I’ve moved over to Tweetie. It doesn’t look as fabulous as its more stylish counterparts, but it’s rich in the features I require and easy to use too.
However, maybe Tweetie isn’t right for you. You could be a globe-trotter on the search for new pals, in which case Twinkle’s nearby tweets feature will make you a social star. Perhaps you’re a power-tweeter and want every feature imaginable, Twittelator Pro would be perfect for you (although it’s so ugly it’ll make your eyes sting). Or, maybe you want to get down to business and just tweet, for which Spitefire is the appropriate choice.
In conclusion, there is no perfect Twitter app for the iPhone, however, there’s such a range on offer in the App Store that there’s bound to be something that suits your own particular tweeting habits. With that settled, it’s time you pick one of these fine apps and then go find your place in the Twitterverse.
And by the way, make sure to drop by the comments and let me know which iPhone Twitter app you have chosen.