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Tweetbot 3 for iPhone Review: Great New Design, with Tons of Features

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I’m a rather frequent user of Twitter, and there is definitely no shortage of 3rd party Twitter clients for people to choose from the in the App Store. For about three years now, Tweetbot has been my Twitter client of choice. It’s probably my most used app, after Messages. I check it incessantly, looking for little moments in which I can steal away some time to catch up on news, cool links, and whatever my friends might be doing. The thing that vaulted Tweetbot to the very top of the paid Twitter clients section was its design. Hands down, it sported the best and most thought-out design, top to bottom, of the Twitter clients in the App Store. Every pixel was used to its fullest capability, and there were fun and whimsical animations that still didn’t seem to intrude on the main point of the app, which was to check Twitter.

With the new design overhaul in iOS 7, a lot of users were intrigued and excited to see what the app’s developers, Tapbots, would come up with. Eschewing skeuomorphism in favor of a flatter and more minimal layout was the main idea behind iOS 7, so how would Tweetbot, that app that used skeuomorphism to its advantage so well, respond? We have our answer in Tweetbot 3, the iOS 7 ready version that was released just this week.

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Tweebot 3 still supports multiple Twitter accounts, and you can do everything you normally would with the service. Navigation is simple, with a menu bar residing at the bottom of the screen, sporting five different buttons. In order, they are your timeline, mentions, and direct messages, with the last two being customizable buttons that can be toggled between favorites, lists, retweets, search, mute filters (I’ll get back to this in a second) and your profile. To change one of those last two icons, simply tap and hold the button, and then a pop up list showing the available button choices arises. The mute filter is one of my favorite functions of the app, as it allows me to force Twitter to ignore certain keywords I’m tired of seeing in my timeline (i.e. a specific news or sporting event), and I can even mute a user who is getting on my last nerve without actually unfollowing or blocking them, thus saving everyone the inevitable pain and frustration. I can honestly say that my mute filter is loaded with specific keywords, and more than a few users, and this absolutely helps keep my Twitter experience tidy and less frustrating.

Let’s talk about the main show real quick, which is your timeline, in case you’re not familiar with Tweetbot. There are two views you can utilize in your timeline, which shows all the tweets from users you follow. The first view will showcase these tweets and whatever links they might be sharing. The second view will show you photos and videos being shared in large format, giving you a quick way to see what’s going viral or what your friends are finding funny. If you would like, you can customize names of those in your timeline to show the user’s real name, Twitter name, or even both. The timeline is also searchable, so if you remember seeing something that piqued your interest but don’t want to have to scroll all the way down to find it, you can search by keyword.

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Now, there are a lot more features that deserve being covered, but for brevity’s sake I’m going to focus on the design changes implemented in the new version. As stated before, Tweetbot 3 does away with the skeuomorphic look and embraces the flatter, more simplistic design trend of iOS 7. While iOS 7 has been a fairly controversial update for a lot of users due to the changes it brought about, I’ve rather enjoyed the change, and have found it to be refreshing. The exact same can be said of Tweetbot 3’s interface.

The buttons are clean and simple, abandoning the shadowed and glossy look of iOS 6 and its predecessors. If you’re a fan of the use of white space, you’ll take notice how Tweetbot 3 utilizes the practice to an almost jarring extent. It took a little to get used to, frankly, but once I did, I realized that Tapbot’s reasoning here was to highlight the content over everything else. The avatars are circular, and like similar native design elements in iOS 7, the icons are thinner. If I have one major gripe with the app, it’s that last part. There have been more than a few times I’ve found myself frustrated by an errant tap due to the thinness of certain icons and buttons, but that’s a problem I see myself running into in other areas of iOS 7 outside of Tweetbot 3, so I’ve grown used to it.

The sweet spot behind Tweetbot’s popularity resides within the app’s custom animations, transitions, physical effects, and layers. There are some fun, physics-related animations you’ll find when tapping on photos and videos, such as the swipe to discard, which will create a neat effect in which it looks like you’re simply throwing away a card. If you had the original Tweetbot, you’ll notice a few differences now in the animations with the new version, and you’ll more than likely enjoy them.

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Suffice it to say, this is a ground-up reworking of the Tweetbot we’ve all grown to love, and my estimation is that it will receive the same amount of praise and loyalty as the original. Eventually. As with anything, a new framework and design implementation is often difficult for people to swallow, but they eventually come around (think Facebook and its many iterations). Probably the biggest thing deterring people from grabbing the update is that the new version will set them back $2.99, even if they were an existing user. I’ve seen a lot of arguments against this, but truthfully, I don’t buy it (no pun intended). If you go to a restaurant twice in one week and get the same server, do you only tip them once? No, and so it is with Tweetbot and paying for major updates to apps. However, if the price is still something that bothers you, you should know that it’s set to jump up here in a little bit to $4.99, so now’s the time to take advantage. If you’re looking for an iPad version of Tweetbot 3, you’ll have to wait a bit, as the developers work on the two device versions separately.

If you consider yourself an avid Twitter user, I would highly recommend checking out Tweetbot, if you haven’t already done so. For those of you holding on to the previous version, don’t expect any updates, as they’ve pulled it from the App Store; so you’ll eventually have to make the upgrade if you want to stick with the features you’ve come to love, which are extensive.

Our Score: 4.5 Out of 5


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