Is Quip Tweetbot’s New Enemy?

The range of Twitter clients out there on the App Store is pretty extensive (for a comparison between some of the most common ones, check out my roundup from last October) and picking between them is quite difficult seeing as each one offers a different range of features, interfaces and customisation possibilities.

My favourite one (and the one I’m using at the moment) is Tweetbot as it offers such great variety in terms of features (including iCloud sync with my iPhone, which is an absolute lifesaver) and its generally simplistic yet powerful functionality. But now, in such a saturated market, there’s a new kid on the block.

Quip, which was released on May 31st by developers Glasshouse Apps (who are also the creators of The Early Edition, one of my favourite iPad news readers) is a new kind of Twitter client which focuses on your conversations and condenses your timeline down into a more manageable format.

I was lucky enough to snag a promotional code for Quip so let’s dive straight in and see whether it can knock Tweetbot off that top spot.


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First Thoughts

Compared to most of the other premium Twitter clients, Quip is a bargain – you can get it off the App Store for a mere 99 cents. If you’ve set up your Twitter account in iOS, then the app will access it automatically – there’s no need to go through Twitter’s own authorisation process.

Once you’ve set up your Twitter account with Quip then you are directed to the main screen, which shows your Timeline in a vertical view along with icons down the left hand side and a convenient timeline scroller on the right.

Quip Timeline

The main view of Quip.

The icons that run along the left-hand side allow you to access the different parts of Quip.

  • Fruux Home Icon  takes you back to the home screen with your timeline (see above)
  • Quip Conversations  lets you view your conversations in Quip’s unique style (more on this in a bit)
  • Quip Retweet  shows you any retweets by users you are following along with the number of retweets
  • Quip Picture Matrix  shows any pictures uploaded by users you are following in a convenient matrix style
  • Quip Mentions  takes you to your mentions (a little blue dot appears when you’ve got a new one)
  • Quip Starred  shows you any tweets you have starred
  • Quip DM  lets you see your direct messages (extra authorisation through Twitter is required here)
  • Quip Search  lets you search Twitter either for keywords or users

Now that we’ve had a quick look at the interface as a whole, let’s take a peek at Quip’s features in a bit more detail.

Viewing Your Timeline

The idea behind Quip is to try and focus on your Twitter conversations so therefore the timeline view is pretty basic. You can reply to, retweet, star, copy and e-mail tweets directly from the timeline and view more information about that particular Twitter user by tapping on their avatar (where you can also view whether a Twitter user is following you or not and block or report them for spam).

Quip User

Viewing a user in more detail.

The app employs the standard pull-to-refresh system (unfortunately no streaming like in Tweetbot, yet) and I noticed whilst testing the app for this review that sometimes scrolling can tend to lag slightly even on my 3rd generation iPad, especially whilst using the timeline scroller on the right-hand side of the screen (which is a fantastic touch). However, this lagging was, at the best of times, pretty negligible and didn’t diminish my user experience much whilst I was using Quip.

Conversations

This is where Quip really excels above other Twitter clients – when it comes to your Twitter conversations. I’ve noticed recently that Twitter is becoming a more popular medium for having random conversations and although it’s not exactly ideal for long lengthy discussions, it’s a great little way to share little quips (!) and anecdotes with other users.

Quip Conversation View

The new conversation view in Quip.

When you tap on a tweet, Quip finds all the mentions for it and displays them in a vertical list below the tweet, including any conversations. Although Tweetbot’s conversation view is quite useful (swiping left on a tweet brings it up) – I prefer Quip here as it makes it far easier to view your conversations. I would, however, have liked to have seen a view similar to the SMS interface on the iPhone, with the replies on the left and right of the screen rather in one list.

Pictures

One of Quip’s most interesting features (and one that has yet to grace the presence of other Twitter clients out there on the App Store) is a matrix for any pictures uploaded by the people you are following.

Quip Picture Matrix

The picture matrix in Quip, showing uploads from people you are following.

Tapping on a picture brings up a larger view of it (no full screen view yet, though) and you can retweet, star and reply straight from this view as well.

Quip Picture Detail

Viewing an image in more detail.

The picture matrix is a nice touch (and the same view applies for your direct messages as well) and is something that I would like to see on other Twitter clients as well.

Final Thoughts

In the title of this review, I asked the question “Is Quip Tweetbot’s new enemy?”. Well, in my opinion, yes and no. Quip is a great approach for a Twitter client (and one that hasn’t been done before) and if you converse a lot then it does make managing your conversations a lot easier.

What I liked:

  • The design of Quip is well thought-out and well executed and looks a treat, especially on the new iPad.
  • It is a revolutionary and unexplored way to Twitter conversations and makes them a lot easier to manage.
  • The picture and direct message matrix looks great and makes viewing them a lot more enjoyable.

What I didn’t like:

  • Scrolling through the timeline tends to lag at times.
  • There’s only one theme (the dark one shown above).
  • Quip has very few customisation possibilities (including no link shortening support as of yet).
  • For a client that focuses on conversations, there are (currently) no push notifications for new replies or DMs.

Quip is, in my opinion, a great secondary Twitter client and as of the current release it won’t be replacing Tweetbot for me just yet – as sacrificing Tweetbot’s powerful range of functions and customisation possibilities is something I’m not prepared to do at the moment.

But all fledgling apps suffer the same problems and I’m sure that the developers, Glasshouse Apps, will be adding more features in future releases. For now, Quip is a very enjoyable and relatively cheap Twitter client to use and we can rest assured that we will see some improvements in the near future.


Summary

A Twitter client for your iPad that focuses on your conversations.

8
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