Finally, An Official Twitter App for the iPad

Published: September 6th 2010
in Economics » World

Twitter for iPad

Last week, the official Twitter app for the iPad was released, which cheered up many “TwitterHolics” and iPad owners, having waited for the app since the iPad was released almost half a year ago.


But despite being anticipated for such a long time, first hands-on impressions suggest the app itself is kind of confusing, though good overall - but is it the best iPad Twitter app? Well, that depends on what type of “Twitterer” you are.


If you are a serious Twitter user, you are going to love it. The official app is designed to be a complete tweet-then-browse-then-tweet package, so you can follow what other people are tweeting as well as everything they are linking to, all in a single app. The trade-off for the added complexity is that many more casual users might prefer a simpler app like “Twitterific.”


The new Twitter's interface starts out straightforward, a lot like the iPhone app. But Twitter for the iPad is actually a bit more complicated than you might think. Instead of using the iPad's standard split-pane views, like in Mail, Twitter is kind of like its own desktop environment, with overlapping, stacked panes that move from left to right.


On the far left, you have got the main control panel, which is the bottom pane. To the right of that, and on top of it, you've got the Tweet list: Either the main feed, mentions or direct messages. Whenever you touch on a Tweet, a third pane opens to the right, on top of the other two. If there is a link in the Tweet, it will open the browser. If there is no link, it will just open that person's profile.


You can switch back to the main Tweet list or control pane by touching it, and it will load browser pages in the background while you browse through other Tweets. It can get cluttered quickly if you are opening sub-menus and other things at the same time, but it does give you a lot of flexibility.


The other user interface choice, which can result in some weird quirks, like above, if you have a direct message open- is that panes are designed to be the same size in portrait and landscape mode. The idea is that the Tweet list and panels do not change whenever you rotate the iPad. It works, except for when it doesn't.


In terms of the basics, most everything you had expected from the iPhone app is here too, like file attachments for photos, geo-location, search, lists and “Instapaper” support. There are a handful of multi-touch gestures, though Twitter is actually trying to keep that feature- simple for now. Pinching on a Tweet in the list will explode it outwards with cool animation, so you can see more details about the person who tweeted it. In addition, if you want see a reply chain, just swipe downward with two fingers.


So, what's the new app missing? Well, it's very hard to re-Tweet anything without using the native re-Tweet function. There's no syncing of read and/or unread Tweets across various Twitter apps, for ideological reasons- the guys at Twitter don't want it to feel like an inbox. Native photo and video support is not here, but Twitter says it is coming. Also, there is no support for three-finger gestures currently.


In a way, it feels like an extension of the official iPhone and Mac apps. But at the same time, many users pointed out that it is hard to escape the feeling of awkwardness, as it doesn't feel like an iPad app should, the way that Twitterific does, because it's doing something quite different with the interface.


Regardless, it seems worth it to give a shot, and moreover, maybe it will send a message to Facebook that it's about time they launched an official app for the iPad as well.

Related articles: (Twitter, iPad, Facebook, app)

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