Remember last year when the Tapbots team introduced a new kind of Twitter app for the iPhone titled Tweetbot? It had a revolutionary user interface, unique sounds for actions performed, and many exclusive features that other clients just didn’t offer at the time.
The app allowed you to do more with Twitter than you ever thought was possible by taking the API to its full potential. Many users saw it as the next Tweetie for iPhone, with even more enhanced features. Our own Matthew Guay recommended that you switch to the fresh Twitter client last April.
Yesterday, Tapbots introduced Tweetbot for iPad and brought the entire experience to Apple’s tablet. Now you’re probably wondering, is it as revolutionary as the original iPhone app was? Keep reading to find out!
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When you first start up Tweetbot for iPad, you’ll be greeted with the icon in a larger form and a “Thank you for Purchasing Tweetbot” screen (seen above) that the developers have inserted in order to thank you for supporting their efforts. You will then be given a short tour of the app and presented with the option to follow the developers @tapbots.
After you’re finished with this little tour, just swipe left and you’ll be in the main interface of the app. You will then be asked if you’d like to authorize Tweetbot to access your Twitter accounts. Tap “Ok” and you’re all set!
Now that you’re in the main timeline, let me give you a quick tour of what goes on here. First, you can pull down the timeline to refresh it, just like most other Twitter apps – though this one has a very fancy animation. If you’d like to see an alternate timeline, possibly one of your lists, then all you have to do is tap the little list button in the top left corner of the timeline and then tap whichever timeline you wish to view. The app is pretty swift at switching timelines too.
While I could just go on for a few long paragraphs and give you a long-form tour of the app, it’d probably be easier for you to just read through a list of the features as this is much quicker for most. So, without further delay, here’s a list of all the features that I could identify, sorted by the tabs within the app:
This is your main feed that you’d see in any Twitter app. It looks simple, but there’s a lot of stuff hidden within taps and swipes.
- Tap a tweet to perform various actions: By simply tapping a tweet, you can reply to it, retweet it, favorite it, read it later using one of the supported services (I’ll talk more about this below), copy a link to the tweet, copy the tweet’s text, email the tweet, translate it to your language, or view the details of the tweet – which usually include the tweet’s ID, information on what app was used to publish the tweet, replies to the tweet, retweets of the tweet, and Favstar.fm statistics for the tweet.
- Tap a profile picture to view the user’s account: By tapping the profile picture of a user in the timeline, you will be brought to their account page where you can view anything from tweets to mentions to followers. The really nice part about this feature is that, as you scroll among the user’s tweets, there is a splash bar at the top of the page that will allow you to switch from tweets to mentions, favorites, or lists. In addition Tweetbot will tell you the Twitter user’s number and the time they joined, which is a rare find in Twitter clients.
- Timeline search: You can easily search your timeline for a word, username, or practically anything else by simply tapping the “Search Timeline” field that’s located on the top of the timeline.
- Composing a tweet: There are a lot of great features in the tweet composition screen. To get here, just tap the little compose button in the top right corner of the app. You’ll see that you can add your location (tap the gear and then tap “Add Location”), mention another user, add a tag, and add a photo to your tweet. You’ll also notice that the app makes good use of iOS 5’s special Twitter keyboard with the additions of the at sign for mentions and hash sign for hashtags.
- Conversation view: If a tweet is a reply to someone, then you can swipe right over the tweet to reveal the conversation that the users have been having with each other.
- Replies: If you swipe left over a tweet, then you’ll get a “Replies” screen where any replies to the tweet will be shown. I’ve found this to be very useful to see what people are saying about an article or some other form of media that’s posted on a Twitter account other than mine. The official Twitter app sure doesn’t have this nifty little feature.
The mentions tab isn’t really much different than the timeline, though swiping right on a tweet is much more useful here because it will give you the conversation view so that you can see an entire transcript of what you’ve been talking to another user about. It’s kind of like the official Twitter app, though opens in a much cooler way.
I really love what the Tapbots have done with Twitter’s direct messaging system. It has a layout much like that of the official Twitter for iPad app, but with larger font and a few extra features including:
- Message count: In the top right corner of a message, you will see that there is a number. This represents how many messages you and the receiver have exchanged over time. It’s nothing major, but it’s unique.
- Ability to email the conversation: This is one of those very useful features. It will let you back up every single message in your conversation with a friend in email form.
- Pull to refresh: The messages tab also makes use of the great pull to refresh feature and it’s great. In Twitter’s official app, there’s not really any way to refresh your messages other than waiting for it to automatically do so.
That’s it for direct messages; there’s really not much in Twitter’s feature anyway, so you can’t expect them to expand on a base of barely anything. It works well, and that’s all we need.
There’s not a lot to see here, aside from your own personal favorites. You can swipe right or left on them to see replies or view the conversation or you can tap the tweet to perform any of the actions mentioned above, but that’s about it. If you’d like to remove a tweet as your favorite, then just tap it and tap the “Favorite” button. It will disappear immediately.
Now here’s a useful little feature. Obviously, every Twitter app has search built in, but this app has a bit more than just that. Here’s what you can do in the Search tab:
- Search Twitter: Yes, this is a given. Just tap the “Search Twitter” field and begin typing what you’re looking for, followed by hitting “Search” on the keyboard. Once you’re on the results page, you can perform all of the aforementioned actions with tweets. That’s about all there is to searching Twitter in Tweetbot for iPad.
- Find People: If yuo’re looking for a user on Twitter, then all you have to do is tap “Find People” and type in who you’re looking for in the “Search People” field. You can also use this feature to search your followers or the people that you’re following. (This can also be done in the Profile tab though.) In addition, you can browse for users that you should be following. These are sorted by interest.
- Save a search: If you’d like to save a search that you’ve just completed, then just tap the blue “Save” button in the top right corner of the screen and it will be added to the “Saved Searches” section of the Search tab where you can tap it to search again. If you’d like to delete one of your saved searches, then just tap the “Edit” button in the top right corner of the Search tab and then proceed to delete the corresponding search.
- Trends: I find these to be annoying, but many folks love to see what’s trending worldwide, so all they have to do is go to the Search tab to see.
The Profile tab lets you see anything related to your own profile on Twitter, from your user number and the date you joined to the lists that you’re in and the amount of tweets that you’ve published. Here’s what’s available in the Profile tab:
- Modify your profile: By tapping the “Edit” button in the top right corner of the Profile tab, you can change your avatar, name, location, website, or biography with just a few taps.
- Followers, following, listed, tweets: You can view your followers by tapping “Followers,” the people you’re following by tapping “Following,” the lists that you’re in by tapping “Listed,” and your tweets by tapping “Tweets.” Alternatively, you can view your tweets in the small drawer below your profile, though it is much more spacially limited, unless you’re in the portrait orientation. You can modify a follower by tapping “Followers” and then tapping his profile and tapping the little block icon in the top right corner beside the gear. You will then have the option to block him or report that he’s a spammer. Additionally, you can follow him if you know him by tapping “Follow.”
There’s not a lot of actions available in the Lists tab, but here’s what you can do:
- Manage your lists: You can add or remove a list by tapping “Edit” in the top right corner and then tapping the + button or the – button beside a list. Alternatively, you can swipe left or right over the list and then press “Delete” to remove it. While edit is enabled, you can also tap a list and edit its name, description, and privacy setting.
- Manage list members: Upon tapping a list, you can manage the members of that list either by swiping left or right over the member or pressing “Edit” and then pressing the – button beside the member.
In this tab, you can view what others have retweeted by tapping the little list-like button in the top right corner and tapping “Retweets by Others,” you can view tweets that you’ve retweeted by tapping “Retweeted by You,” or you can view which of your tweets has been retweeted by tapping “Your Tweets, Retweeted.” All tweet actions mentioned above apply here as well.
This is a useful tab for those of you who have an annoying person, hashtag, or client that you don’t wish to see in your timeline any longer. Please note that you cannot mute mentions, but only timeline and list appearances. Here’s how you can mute one of the items mentioned above:
- Muting clients: All you have to do in order to add a mute filter for a client is press the “Edit” button in the top right corner and press the + button, followed by tapping the client you wish to mute.
- Muting hashtags: To mute a hashtag,
- Muting people: To mute people, you must either head to the user’s profile, tap the gear, and tap “Mute.” You’ll be given the option to mute the user for one day, one week, one month, or forever. Tap one to make your choice.
Tweetbot for iPad has quite a few settings available to be changed. Here is a list of what’s available:
- Sounds: You can adjust the sound effect settings to either not play at all or only play on notifications. If you wish to do this, tap “Settings” and then tap
- Display: Here you can choose whether you’d like the font to be tiny, small, medium, large, or huge. It’s medium by default. You can also choose whether you’d like to display the full name of a user, just his username, or both. In addition to this, you can change the date format to be either relative or absolute, depending on if you need it to be exact or not. Lastly, you can set the new tweets bar to be persistent or to be hidden when scrolling.
- Navigation: Here you can chose to disable the Favorites, Search, Profile, Lists, Retweets, and Mute Filters tabs if you don’t need them.
- Quote format: In this pane, you can choose whether you’d like a quote to be in standard form, old retweet form, or just say “via @user” at the end.
- Triple tap: Here you can choose if you’d like a triple tap to initiate a reply, retweet, favorite, translate, or view the tweet in Favstar.
- Post In Background: This setting is useful if you wish to post a tweet in the background so that you can continue with another task.
- Import iOS Accounts: I recommend setting this to on if you wish for the app to import your current iOS Twitter accounts.
This is another settings section entirely as it offers anything from link shortening settings to push notifications.
- Notifications: Here you can enable push notifications if someone mentions you, sends you a direct message, retweets your tweet, favorites your tweet, follows you, adds you to a list, or subscribes to your list. There are also some very useful sleep options so that you don’t get awoken because of a mention.
- URL Shortening: In this settings pane, you can set whether you’d like your URL shortening system to be Twitter, bit.ly Pro, CloudApp, or your own Yourls installation.
- Image Upload: Here you can set whether you’d like to use CloudApp, img.ly, Lockerz, Mobypicture, Pikchur, Posterous, Twitgoo, TwitPic, Twitter, yfrog, or a custom service for your image uploading.
- Video Upload: Here you can set whether you’d like to use CloudApp, Mobypicture, Pikchur, Posterous, TwitVid, yfrog, or a custom service for your video uploading.
- Read Later: In this settings pane, you have the ability to set none, Instapaper, Pinboard, Readability, or Read it later as your read later service for links. You will be asked to sign in to one of these if you tap it.
- Sync: If you have any apps that support Tweet Marker, then you may want to enable Tweet Marker sync in this pane to keep your spot synced between your devices.
- Mobilizer: You can set what service you’d like to use for mobilizing pages that you visit in the built-in browser. The choices are Google, Instapaper, and Readability.
- Trends: If you don’t want to see what’s trending worldwide, then you can change it to one of the other countries supported here.
- Reset Account Cache: If the app is running slow, then you should probably run this because it will purge the app’s entire cache of pictures and links opened. It’s also useful if you need to get a bit more space and the app is taking up quite a bit.
Tweetbot for iPad is overly abundant in supported gestures, and I haven’t even found them all. However, Federico Viticci of MacStories has been using the app for quite a while through beta testing and such, so he’s compiled a great list of all the supported gestures within the app, which he included in his review published yesterday. All credit goes to him for the discovery of these great shortcuts. Here they are:
- Tap a tweet to open the tweet drawer;
- Double-tap a tweet to open the Detail view;
- Tap a user’s profile pic to open the Profile view;
- Tap usernames to open Profile view, tap links to open Web view;
- Tap & hold a link (or inline picture/link in user’s Bio) to: Bookmark, Tweet URL, Open in Safari, Copy URL, or Email URL;
- Tap & hold a tweet to: Bookmark, Copy Link to Tweet, Copy Tweet, Email Tweet, or Translate;
- Tap & hold retweet button to retweet from a different account;
- Tap & hold favorite button to Award Tweet of the Day;
- Tap Actions button to: Copy Link to Tweet, Copy Tweet, Email Tweet, or Translate;
- Tap & hold Actions button to: Post Link to Tweet, or View in Favstar;
- Tap & hold a profile pic (or username/retweet author) to: Public Reply, Manage List Memberships, Mute, Follow/Unfollow;
- Double-tap a tab to scroll to the top;
- Double-tap Messages tab to Mark All Messages as Read;
- Tap & hold an image to: Save Image, Copy Image, View Website, or Tweet Link;
- Tap & hold hashtag to: New Post with Hashtag, or Mute;
- Tap & hold the “via…” client link in Detail view to mute a specific Twitter client;
- Tap the location button when composing a new tweet to Remove Location, Use Coordinates, select a Point of Interest, or choose a Location;
- Double-tap the Profile tab to open a user’s Favstar page for recent tweets;
- Last, you can configure triple-taps in Settings for: Reply, Retweet, Favorite, Translate, or View in Favstar.
Landscape vs. Portrait
Below are two screenshots, one of the landscape orientation in Tweetbot for iPad and the other of the portrait orientation. I prefer landscape because the keyboard is a lot easier to type on, but it’s kind of nice to read in portrait and it’s also a bit more spacey. I’ll leave it up to you.
Multiple Account Support
If you need to access multiple Twitter accounts on your iPad, then all you have to do is add the account in the Settings app, head back over to Tweetbot, tap your name in the top left corner of the app, and tap the other account. (Please note that it may take a moment to realize that you’ve added an additional account.) You can do the same thing to switch back – it’s seamless.
The Integrated Browser
Nearly every iOS Twitter client has a built-in browser, and Tweetbot’s is exceptionally well-developed. My personal favorite part about it is the mobilizer integration. You can choose to make a webpage load faster using Google’s mobilizer, Instapaper, or Readability. They all work very well and I personally like Readability’s most.
Sadly, there are a few features that the iPad version of Tweetbot is lacking, though not many. I’m not going to format this section like the one above because there just isn’t as much to say. Anyway, here is one of the lacking features that both I and other users have noticed when using Tweetbot for iPad:
- No Twtmore or Twitlonger support: I personally haven’t been writing tweets that are longer than 120 characters lately, but some people still do, so I think it’d be really nice to have support for either Twtmore or Twitlonger in the app. What’s strange is the fact that the iPhone version actually has support for them both.
I’m not going to go into a lot of detail here because the user interface is an element that’s more of something some people like and others don’t. I have a few friends who absolutely hate the interface of this app, remarking that it’s “extremely ugly.” I personally love it and also love the great little animations like falling pop-ups, but I suppose everyone has different taste in mobile applications, so I’m going to leave the choice to you.
I always feel that it’s right to point out the issues that an app has, so that’s what this section is for. In the list below, you will find all issues that I’ve discovered within Tweetbot for iPad. If you’ve happened to stumble upon any, then we recommend that you let the developers know as soon as possible so that they may address the issue in the next update.
- Pull Down to Refresh animation is a bit jagged
- Tweeting a link when in-browser with Readability doesn’t work unless the browser is manually closed
- Editing a list may be a bit hard because you can’t see where you’re typing (seen in screenshot above)
Even in light of the few bugs that this app has, I absolutely love it. It’s a Twitter client like no other and I welcome it as my main Twitter client, as opposed to the official iPad app. It’s very intuitive and brings a whole new experience to the iPad – there’s really nothing else like it. Maybe one day there will be something better, but for now, I’m with Tweetbot all the way. I hope you’ve enjoyed this tour of the finest way to experience Twitter on the iPad.