Twitter Push on the iPhone. Your mileage may vary.
When Apple announced Push Notifications as part of the OS 3.0 upgrade for the iPhone and iPod Touch, I was really uncertain of the value. I don’t do SMS so I am not used to my phone alerting me to incoming anything.
On the other hand I use Twitter fairly heavily (as maybe you guessed from all the Twitter client reviews on CDNNs), and when the first Twitter clients with Push for Mentions and Direct Messages began to appear, of course I had to try a few.
And I can say that I like it. I have three Twitter accounts and a total of maybe 500 friends and followers. I get a fair volume of @s and the occasional DM. For me push works. I like getting that audible alert on the phone when I am working on the computer to let me know of new mentions or messages. It is nice to be able to quickly look at the phone screen to see what’s up. It is nice not to have to load the @s and DMs every time I open my client (makes for faster opens on any client).
You should realize that none of these Push options is real time. The client server has to check Twitter for your @s and DMs, then send a push notification to the servers at Apple, who then sent it out to you. There appear to be time limits too. This can happen every 10 minutes, every 5, or every 3. Each developer who uses push has to determine the balance between practical and prompt, between timely and annoying.
That said, though, twitter push, for me, is good.
If you want it on your phone your current options are:
Single service Twitter Push apps which you buy separately and use in conjunction with your favorite Twitter client.
Twitter Clients with built in Push.
To my knowledge there are three Twitter Push apps currently in the store.
Tweet Push: $.99, supports Twitterific, Tweetie, Twittelator, TwitterFon, and SimplyTweet Pro (that last is a puzzler since SimplyTweet Pro (see below) does its own pushing). Note: this is paid service. You pay so much per day, per Twitter account.
Boxcar: $2.99, supports Tweetie, Twitterific, TwitterFon, Twittelator, and Twinkle. Opens @s and DMs in the client of your choice. I bought this before I realized that it does not do multiple Twitter accounts. For me that is a killer. Of no use to me.
iTweetReply $1.99, current version opens Pushed @s and DMs in its own conversation view with limited Twitter features. Coming version will open both in Tweetie, Twitterific, TwitterFon, Twittelator Pro, or Twinkle. The app store description does not say it supports multiple accounts so I am assuming that is a NO.
There are currently three Twitter clients with built in Push.
iTwitter $2.99 was the first, but it only does Push between iTwitter users. Not very practical. Save your $2.99 until they get that worked out.
Twitbit $4.99, came next (by a hair), and is at least a competent Twitter client for the casual user. It lacks power features, and any unread counts or indications, but for most folks it will be fine. Version 1.0.1 is pending in the app store and will add the missing (???) Retweet and DM functions. It does multiple accounts.
SimplyTweet 2.0 $4.99, as previously reviewed, is a power Twitter client with a full feature set, and some features found no where else (easily reply to multiple tweets for one, and attach multiple pics to a single tweet for another). It does multiple accounts, has an elegant unread count, is fairly fast, and has a better than average UI. Push works well, and the author is tweeking the Push rate to make it even more responsive. (SimplyTweet is a one man show, and Hwee-Boon Yar has perhaps the most open and responsive development process I have seen. He responds to suggestions, often with new features, and attempts to fix every issue brought to his attention.) The only features it lacks are 1) video upload, 2) audio upload, and 3) ping.fm or Facebook integration.
Now, if you are patient, TwitterFon has already promised Push by late summer, and I suspect both Tweetie and Twitterific will be forced to follow or they will begin to lose market share.
In the meantime, the only real option as far as I am concerned is SimplyTweet 2.0: great client with push…what more could you ask.