Archive for the ‘Twittelator Pro 3.0’ Category
It seems to be a day for downloading upgrades and seeing how Twitter clients are progressing. Twittelator Pro 3.0 was the first Twitter client to take advantage of the features of OS 3.0 and the iPhone 3GS when they were introduced last year. It was ready on launch to upload audio and video. I bought it at that point, and it was an eye-opening experience. I thought Tweetie was everything a Twitter client could be…Twittelator soon showed me a whole new range of possibilities…bookmarks, lists, saved tweets and sets of tweets, in-line image thumbs in list view, intelligent tweet counts in all views, etc, etc.: Twittelator Pro was so feature rich that it made using any lesser client seem like a huge step backward. Goodbye Tweetie. (see my first Twittelator Pro review.)
Only the advent of SimplyTweet, which had a similar feature set, a simpler UI (at least in my eyes), and PUSH! took me away from Twittelator.
Still I download every Twittelator Pro upgrade just to see how it is developing. Today version 3.6 appeared in the App Store, with one feature that I just had to try right away: TextExpander support. I have become addicted to TE in SimplyTweet, and I am of the opinion that every text based iPhone app should feature integration. It is hard to imagine how useful it is until the the 6th time you begin a tweet with “Just in case you missed it:”. Setting a TE snippet to “jicumi” allows you to type just that: “jicumi” and have it magically expanded into the whole phrase, including the “:”. I use it all the time.
With the exception of Push, Twittelator Pro has done an excellent job of keeping up with new features of the OS and Twitter. This version does both traditional Retweets (with the possibility of comments) and the new Twitter native Retweet. And Twitter native lists have replaced the custom lists in previous versions of Twittelator. The advantage of using the Twitter native lists is, of course, portability. Any app that uses Twitter native lists, including the Twitter web interface itself, can use the same lists you create on Twitter, or in another client that integrates the list features. When you switch clients, for whatever reason, you do not lose your lists. Of course there is a price. Twitter lists only collect direct tweets from users. They do not collect replies. Most custom lists in the clients that implemented them collected both. You can’t have everything.
Twittelator Pro does continue to provide an interesting an unique feature called Bookmarks. This allows you to add a user to a list you can later access from the More menu to call up all that user’s tweets with a single touch.
Another of the can haves of Twittelator is geotagging. It supports native Twitter geo tags and does an excellent job with a built-in map view for Nearby search, which is fully integrated with an intelligent list view as well. It is one of the best Nearby search implementations I have yet seen.
Version 3.6 also includes what the creator is calling an in-line browser. Of course every Twitter client that I know of uses the OS browser calls and interface to provide a way to view links within the app. Twittelator just provides a view where you can enter your own url or go to the Google page.
When you add all these new features, and more that I have not mentioned, introduced since version 3.0, Twittelator remains one of the richest Twitter experiences on any platform.
But no push. Twittelator relies on Boxcar. I downloaded Boxcar again today and set it up for Twittelator. Nah! Not the same as the native Push integration offered by Twitbit, Echofon, TwitBird, and SimplyTweet. Not at all! Sorry. No.
Then too, Twittelator has a UI that, honestly, takes some getting used to. Considering the popularity of the app, lots of people must get used to it…but it is very different from the majority of Twitter clients…and very different, in fact, from the emerging standard interface conventions among all iPhone apps. You won’t see any swipes or tap for pop-up action menus here.
For instance, here is a screen shot of the list view, with little arrows and explanations of the controls.
Nothing wrong with that. Everything you might want to do is there…even if it is not obvious to the new user.
But it is different. In every other Twitter client I have tested on the iPhone, tapping the tweet in the list view opens the tweet in tweet view. Tapping the tweet does nothing in Twittelator. You have to tap the user name to open tweet view. In other apps tapping the avatar initiates a reply. In Twittelator it opens the profile of the user, and gives you your only access to @users within the tweet. It also allows you to do a Reply All. To initiate a normal reply (without opening the tweet view), you have to tap the time stamp…unless the tweet is itself a reply, in which case the time stamp will be in a speech bubble, and tapping it will open conversation view for the reply (leaving you without any way to directly initiate a reply of your own until you get to the conversation view).
If there are links, or #hastags in the tweet you have to tap the attachment icon to access them. That produces a menu of the possible links for you to choose from. That is the only way to open links or #hashtags, since once you figure out how to open the tweet view, unlike every other Twitter client on the iPhone, the links are just text…most Twitter clients require you to open tweet view before the links go live. In Twittelator you can not open a link from tweet view. Links are never live. Different. Of course, the image thumbnail right in the list view is a nice touch. Contrary to all expectation, it is live: Tapping the thumbnail opens the image viewer directly.
Here, in the screen shots, you see the pop-up menu that tapping the attachment icon opens for choosing which of the possible links you you want to activate, and the tweet view with no active links at all. As you can see, a wide range of options for action on the tweet are provided. Retweet can be set to auto choose conventional (RT or Via with comment) or Twitter native retweet, to do one or the other, or to always give you a choice. The one that is missing here is quote or repost tweet, and, unlike some other clients that have a one tap copy the whole tweet, you have to use the OS selection handles and pop-up to copy the tweet for inclusion in a new tweet.
I am not making a better/worse argument here: just pointing out that Twittelator’s UI is different, and non-standard in many ways. Cryptic. It does everything you need it to do, but it takes some time to find out how to do any given thing…and some effort to remember. (There is a fairly trough instruction manual on-line and accessible from within the app). It is easy for those already in the know. Not so much for new users. You may love it and think that all Twitter clients should work this way.
I could get used to it. And the rich feature set of Twittelator makes it worthwhile. As you would expect, the longer I live with the app, the more normal it seems. But honestly, there are a growing number of clients which have all the power features of Twittelator Pro, plus a less cryptic UI , and even fully integrated push.
Still for all that, Twittelator Pro may be just your cup of Twitter Tea. It still offers features no other client offers, and has just about every feature anyone else provides. If only it did native push. I am using it as my default client, at least until SimplyTweet implements the latest Twitter native features (lists and retweet).
Tweetie was, by far, the most popular twitter app on the iPhone and iPod Touch. I suspect it had, and has, more users than all the other twitter apps combined.
If it had a failing, it was that it was not often upgraded. The author, one could argue, got side-tracked with his version for Mac, and left Tweetie on the iPhone pretty much as it was while other, less well known, clients incorporated a host of new features, especially with the advent of OS 3.0. The fact that so many people stuck with Tweetie through it all is testimony to how well Tweetie did its basic job of connecting people to twitter, and doing the things they needed to do with twitter on a day to day basis.
Of course, that made the announcement of Tweetie 2 just that much more delicious to the faithful, and tantalizing to other clients’ users (as well as worrisome to other clients’ developers). Tweetie 2 was greeted with the furor appropriate for, well, a second coming. It has now arrived, and been thoroughly gushed over all over the net. It is getting generally, absolutely glowing reviews.
Tweetie was, for quite a while, my own twitter client of choice, but I will admit that I was seduced away, first by the richer (if idiosyncraticly implemented) feature set of Twittelator 3.0 (the first client to really make use of the OS 3.0 potentials), and then by the Twittelator-rich feature set, and, shall we say, Tweetie-like simplicity and speed, of SimplyTweet. And I will admit, right up front, that Tweetie 2 will not become my twitter client of choice (not yet at least). There is only room for one twitter app at a time in the main launch bar on my iPhone screen, next to the FaceBook app. Some of the features that I have come to rely on every day are still only available, or simply better implemented, in SimplyTweet. In what follows you will see that I am unable to avoid comparisons between Tweetie 2 and both Twittelator 3.0 and SimplyTweet 2.5.
Of course, the second coming of Tweetie has been complicated by the developer’s decision to break with the free upgrade model that iPhone and App Store users have come to expect. He argues that making all current Tweetie users fork out another $2.99 for v2 is justified because so much of the code is new, but, honestly, it is still Tweetie, and honestly, he does not need to justify the upcharge at all. I am sure, from the changes evident in the new version, that he spent a lot of hours (days, weeks, months) on coding. He deserves to be paid a reasonable wage, and the only way of insuring his income is to charge current users (of which, as noted, there are many) for the new version. It is not like this is a $20 app. And for their original $2.99 most users got close to a year out of Tweetie. The developer did warn potential Tweetie buyers in good time, right in the app store description, that a new version was iminent, and that it would not be a free upgrade.
It is just that we are all spoiled: we expect unlimited upgrades on $3 apps. What planet are we from? If developers are going to continue to develop their apps for the iPhone, if, in fact, the app store is to survive in the long run, we have to expect that there will be, that there have to be, charges for new versions. The sooner we get over it, the better for us all…and the better for the health of a platform we, if we admit it to ourselves, have become dependent on. I want to see the iPhone and the app store live and flourish. To do that, developers have to make a living. Simple.
Climbing down off my soap-box now, lets take a look at how Tweetie 2 measures up against the competition.
Landscape in all views is actually a surprisingly nice feature. Tweetie 2 is not the first twitter app to implement it. That honor goes to, how could you miss it, Landscape Tweets (and the version of SimplyTweet currently in the approval process, which I have been using in beta for a week now (2.5) also has it). Still, it is a nice feature and well implemented in Tweetie 2. I wasn’t sure. But I do find myself tipping the iPhone over to landscape a lot in List View, and in Tweet View. I almost always use the landscape compose view (which, of course has been available for a long time in many clients). I really like Tweetie’s little arrows at the top of the screen in landscape view that allow you to move through your tweets without returning to the list view (they are there in portrait too, but I am less apt to use them). Somehow it is just easier and more relaxed for me to read the screen in landscape. Your mileage, of course, may vary.
And while we are at it, Tweetie 2’s compose screen is elegantly done. Tap the character counter and the keyboard is replaced by a feature selection panel that includes icons for url shortening, picture attachment (from the library, including video if you have a video accepting service enabled in the settings, or the camera), geotaging, as well as access to recent #hastags and to your list of follow/followers (for @addressing purposes). These options are not unique to Tweetie, of course (SimplyTweet, for one, duplicates them, and adds text shortening, as does Twittelator), but the icon panel replacing the keyboard is.
The other much heralded (and lauded) set of Tweetie 2 features has to do with its off-line, tweet caching, and draft abilities. Here, again to be honest, Tweetie 2 is just catching up to Twittelator, and Twittelator goes way beyond Tweetie 2 in its ability to save, view, and work with individual tweets, as well as user-defined sets and selections of tweets. Off-line reading and composition has been in Twittelator almost from the beginning (Twitt a later?).
And both Tweetie 2 and Twittelator apparently trade caching for limits on the number of tweets they load and cache. Tweetie 2 apparently loads about 200 tweets at a time, and caches maybe that many more. Unfortunately 200 tweets, for me, is about an hour’s worth at most times of day…which means my timeline in Tweetie 2 has big gaps unless I open the app on fairly regular basis. I am spoiled, again, by SimplyTweets ability to load all tweets since the last one I read (and that can be 1000 or more first thing in the morning). It is not that I read all those tweets. But I do like to cherry pick, and I do like to know they came in.
And, speaking of cherry picking, for me, Tweetie’s lack (so far) of groups or sub-lists is a real limitation…I need to be able to have quick access to the tweets of those twits that I really follow, as opposed to those that I casually follow. I don’t want to miss a tweet from my immediate family, or from my closest twitter friends. (Then there are special purposes lists, like my list of twitter app developers 🙂
Of course, Twitter has just implemented their own lists function (which is what Tweetie’s author always said he was waiting on). I don’t have it on my Twitter page yet, so I have not been able to experiment with it, and can not comment on how it works in comparison, say, to Seesmic Desktops groups, Twittelator’s sub-groups, or SimplyTweet’s lists…and I do not know how long it will take Twitter to make the lists function available through API to external clients, but I do know that I, for one, need lists now…and both Twittelator and SimplyTweet provide them.
And then there is push. I have, somewhat to my own surprise, come to like push in a twitter client. SimplyTweet has great push. It pushes all your accounts. You can go so far as to turn off auto-load for @mentions and DMs and just rely on push, since, even when the app is open, there is an audible and visual alert when a new @ or DM comes in.
Tweetie 2, on the other hand (like Twittelator), still relies on Boxcar or another 3rd party app for its push funcition. True, yesterday they made Boxcar 2 free, and Boxcar 2 has push for FaceBook as well as Twitter (and email if you use the forwarding service)…but…Boxcar is only free for a single twitter or facebook account. If you have more than one twitter account, or you want to use it for both twitter and fb, there is a charge for each additional account. And it is still a separate app, which has to be generalized to cover a lot of twitter clients, and simply can not be completely integrated with any of them…not the way SimplyTweet’s push is completely and seamlessly implemented within the program.
When working with individual tweets, Tweetie 2 has an excellent set of options (see the screen capture). At first I thought that the one that I use every day in SimplyTweet is not there. I post the links to my Pic of the Day blogs at least twice a day, and it is very nice to be able to open the first post and simply repost it, sometimes adding “In case U missed it.” SimplyTweet calls this Reposting. Tweetie can actually do exactly the same thing using the Quote Tweet button.
What Tweetie2 does have, that is still, I think, relatively unique, is integration with a lot of external twitter apps and services. This goes well beyond the usual read it later services. It includes TextExpander integration, both send to Tweetie from Expander and in-app snippit expansion within Tweetie…for those addicted to snippets (actually, version 2.5 of SimplyTweet, currently under review as mentioned above, has full TextExpander integration as well). For other examples of other services take a look at the screen shots for the account views and settings (above).
Tweetie 2 also has intergration with the iPhone’s Contacts app. You can create a contact from a twitter follow/follower. I can’t think of any reason why you would want to do that, but it is there, and maybe I simply lack imagination.
Little things I like about Tweetie 2:
1) the way it displays a little icon in list view on tweets with image links, and the way it displays a little thumbnail of the image in tweet view.
2) the swipe icon bar with its excellent range of options (see screen shot above), including an action icon that opens up even more options.
3) the ability to display real names or screen names (though only SimplyTweet allows you to display both at the same time).
4) the ability to view DMs from those who DM you in conversation mode, going backwards from the current DM.
5) the In Reply To button in tweet view that allows you to trace a chain of @s back through time (though the Conversation view of @s in SimplyTweet is easier).
6) switching your atvar to the other side of the tweet in list view for your own tweets: kind of like bubble view without the annoying (to me) bubbles.
7) as already mentioned, the little up/down arrows in tweet view that allow you to move tweet to tweet without returning to the list timeline view.
8) the speed at which the app opens and loads your timeline and the responsiveness of all controls (a biggie!).
Still there are reasons, some big, some small, that SimplyTweet will stay on my iPhone, and Tweetie 2 will, despite my having invested $6 in the app now, be retired to my iTunes library to wait for further upgrades.
The biggest reason is undoubtedly the fully intergrated, all accounts, push that SimplyTweet handles so well. Close second is SimplyTweet’s easy and excellent implementation of lists of selected followers. Third is the fact that Tweetie still does not display the number of unread tweets, @s or DMs, and only marks unreads in the DM view.
Then there are little SimplyTweet only touches: the # symbol on the compose screen that allows you to insert the # character without opening the extended keyboard, the way recent tweets are displayed in account views, the Between Us button on account views that calls up recent public exchanges with that follow/follower, the easy conversation views accessible from any tweet (and from the swipe pop-up icon bar), the ability to reply to multiple tweets (and twits) by selecting them in your time-line list view (great for building #followfriday tweets, among other things), the ability to customize the contents of the swipe icon bar, and to choose one of several themes for the whole app, etc, etc.
So, Tweetie 2 is a good twitter app…even a great twitter app. But, for all that, it will not replace SimplyTweet in the main launch bar at the bottom of my iPhone screen! Not yet.
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.
That said though there is a new version of Twittelator Pro on the App Store today. Just an ungrade in the second decimal place: 3.0 to 3.0.1 but some significant improvements, no the less.
From Twittelator News.
Features in Version 3.0.1:
• Choose separate upload services for Audio, Video and Photos
• 5 alert sounds including hawk, cuckoo, kiwi and kookaburra
• Support for offline tweeting of audio and video
• Copy big avatar/photo option (for paste into new tweet)
• User Detail now shows the date a user joined twitter
• Following Map links opens the Maps interface
• Snapshots are automatically saved to your Photos library
• Uploading media continues on relaunch if you quit during upload
• ReadItLater links now display the tweet that originated the link
• DM button is hidden if Tweeter is not following you
(and thus couldn’t get a DM from you)
• Send Button moved safely to the top of Phone!
• Return key just inserts returns
• Developer API for sending messages and push notifications
– If you quit while uploading media, it’s resent on next launch
– My Profile -> Search -> result, tap avatar, works again
– Avatar -> Tweets -> More works again
– Unlimited number of accounts
– Saving a photo by clearing works now
– Some occasional crashers fixed includingTweetShrink issue
– Changing trends is more responsive
All this and what appears to me to be an overall improvement in responsiveness. Opening the compose box is faster. Loading the program is faster. etc.
For the absolute power user, there is still no match for Twittelator Pro. Most complete feature set hands down. The only full fledged Twitter client with full multi-media posting. Not the prettiest or the most intuitive user interface going, but you can get used to it.
As soon as the new version of Boxcarclears the App Store, you will even be able to have Push with Twittelator Pro (though at the price of buying an additional program).
Okay, I will confess. I am a iPhone Twitter client junky. I have tried just about all of them and generally have 3 or more on my iPhone at once. And why not. Twitter has become a major preoccupation, and the iPhone provides a all but ideal platform for mobile tweets and keeping up.
You may know that until recently the battle for my Twitter space (and the prime location on my iPhone’s app bar) was between Tweetie and TwitterFon Pro. (see Tweetie gets Competition: TwitterFon Pro, Twitterific 2.0). This week, while following the iPhone 3.0 and 3GS fervor on the net, I came across mention of a new version of Twittelator Pro, optimized for OS 3.0 and the new iPhone. I have not tried Twittelator since the early days with my iPod Touch (not quite a year ago), and have never tried the Pro version. A look at the www.stone.com website, and the description of Twittelator 3.0, had me seriously wondering if Twittelator had grown into an app that might replace my current favs…even though the major new feature, Video tweets, is not available on my 3G. It should be noted that Twittelator 3.0 only runs on OS 3.0. You must upgrade before purchasing it.
So I did some more research, and then, whatever, bought a copy. (Told you I was a junky.)
Why? What is wrong with Tweetie or TwitterFon Pro?
Tweetie still lacks any indication of how many new tweets, @, or DMs you have. After using TwitterFon I really really missed that. And you have to open a tweet with links to open the link. Lame. (But again something I did not even notice until after using TwitterFon Pro with its rich text, live link, view.) Tweetie also lacks a conversation view of replies and @s (though it has it for DMs).
And TwitterFon? Twitterfon does not display real names. I can live with screen names, but, hay, these are friends. When possible I would like to think of them, and interact with them, based on real names. Then too, TwitterFon was just a bit slow on the load. And, really, I just did not find TwitterFon (or Tweetie) compelling enough to stick with it for long. I kept switching back and forth, which told me that neither app had my heart. (Not even that small portion of my heart that is devoted to Twitter apps.)
So, Twittelator Pro. Let me say right up front here that it has replaced both Tweetie and TwitterFon on my iPhone. It now lives right there next to Facebook, Phone, and IPod in my app bar. Am I impressed? I guess so!
First, it meets my drop dead requirement of managing multiple accounts. And it displays the number of new tweets, new @s, and new DMs in little bubbles on the icons.
Then too, Twittelator 3.0 is a mature iPhone Twitter client. I can only think of one feature it does not have that I want (Facebook or ping.fm integration, and I can still use Pingle for simultaneous posts) and it has some features which, if no longer unique, are at least very rare, and quite well implemented in Twittelator (groups for instance).
Also the interface shows every sign of being a third generation interface. My memory of Twittelator, based on the 1.x free version I tried in the past, is that it was overly complex, with reminders popping up whenever you touched the screen anywhere and a white on black list view, with tiny type that I fond very hard to read.
Even if memory serves me right, that was then, and the this is now version is far different. I would still highly recommend reading the whole help file on the iPhone (under the Settings icon), or on the http://www.stone.com web site before you get very far in using the app. Not every operation is obvious, and some are pretty obscure until you find out how to do them. However, once you know how the program works, it works, for me, very naturally. I find the various controls easy to remember and easy to use, while giving access to a very large feature set. (My only quibble is that there is, despite what the instructions say, no easy way to switch between accounts. What should be, in my opinion, a one or two tap operation, involves multiple taps and multiple screens to accomplish. An ideal solution might be borrowed from TweetDeck for iPhone, with accounts running in adjacent screens which can be side-slide-flicked into place. The screens do not even have to be populated until flicked to (some load time acceptable). Listening Mr. Stone?)
The tiny white on black type has been replaced by your choice of three very attractive themes, and you can set it to display large type for the end of those kind of days.
As to general controls: Touching the tweeter’s name in the tweet opens a panel with lots of options for replies, direct messages, retweeting, etc. etc. Touching the atvar opens the tweeter’s profile, which also has reply and direct message options as well as the usual follow/unfollow, view tweets, view mentions, view friends, view followers, block, notifications, etc. There is also a search icon which opens a profile search to find other tweeters by name. Better, there is a bookmark feature (unique to Twittelator as far as I know) which adds the tweeter to your bookmarks list for quick and easy access to their tweets. Don’t want to miss a single tweet from one of your friends?Bookmark them and check their feed from time to time.
Twittelator Pro is also one of the new OS 3.0 location aware apps. Below the profile name you will see the GPS coordinates of the location. Clicking the location opens your choice of Google maps.
You can also reply to a tweet by touching the time bubble…most of the time…unless the tweet is part of a conversation (reply, or reply to a reply, or reply to a reply to a reply, etc.), in which case tapping the time bubble opens the conversation as far back as it goes. I really like this feature, as too often I can’t even figure out what tweet of mine someone is replying to.
When there are links in the tweet, urls, @users, #marks, etc., touching the paperclip icon either opens them directly (if there is only one) or gives you a screen to choose which one you want to activate. There is a fast in-line browser with landscape view for urls. When the link is a known picture service (TwitPic, Yfrog, Pikchur, MobyPicture, TwitGoo, TwitLens, TweetPhoto) a thumbnail is displayed instead of the link. Touching the thumbnail opens a unique and very fast image viewer. All images open in portrait mode, cropped to fit the screen, but there is a little control in the header that will fit the image to the width of the screen. Unfortunately you can not (yet, I assume) rotate the phone to see the image in landscape, but there is no denying that the picture viewer is considerably faster than opening the link in the in-line browser (even an open images in landscape view option in settings would be nice). A single tap on the image will bring up the option to save the image or to open it in the browser with the surrounding page from the site in question (should you want, for instance, to leave a comment on the site page rather than replying directly to the tweet). All in all, this is a very intelligent way of viewing images in tweets!
(You can select any of the image services above as your default image service for posting images with tweets. This is perhaps the widest selection I have seen…and makes Twittelator Pro one of the few iPhone clients to support the new TweetPhoto service.)
The list view, by the way, besides displaying the number of new tweets in on the icon, displays it at the top of the list, and, it decreases as you scroll up the list (presumably reading tweets as you go). A tap on header, instead of running you up to the top of the list as it does in most other apps, moves you up a page of tweets. To get to the head of the list you have to double tap the header.
I already mentioned Bookmarks.
That is one way to sort tweets and tweeters. Twittelator offers another in Sub-groups. You can easily build a sub-group of your friends on any principle. I have two so far: APP developers who’s apps I rely on, and Family. Mr Stone recommends keeping groups fairly small as Twittelator uses the search API to generate the list of tweets on the fly. You can set it (in the Settings panel) to generate the list of group tweets using the general API, but, as Mr Stone rightly points out, that might use up your 100 calls an hour pretty fast.
Speaking of Search: Twittelator Pro offers complete access to the full Twitter Search set. On the simple search page you just tap the … in the corner of the search field and the Advanced Search screen opens. Sweet.
The list of features on the More Page is too long to take a screen shot. You have:
Accounts, Search, My Profile, Mine (your own tweets), My Messages (DMs), Subgroups, Trends, Everyone (Twitter’s unsorted feed), Stocks, Recents, Bookmarks, Favorites, Log (where Twitter API calls are recorded), Misc (where, for instance, recent search results are stored), and Saved (which stores sets of tweets, friends, mentions, messages, subgroups, etc as you create them by tapping and holding for two seconds).
Deep breath. If you are getting the idea that Twittelator Pro is a full featured client, then you are getting the right impression. I hope I am also conveying that all of these features are relatively easy to access and use. Mr. Stone has achieved a great balance between feature complexity and ease of use simplicity: not an easy thing to do!
Okay, which brings us to actually writing a posting tweets. As I mentioned you can open the tweet screen for a reply in one of three ways. Or you can open the tweet screen by tapping the pretty universal tweet/keyboard icon in the upper right header. What you get is a fairly conventional keyboard view, either portrait or landscape depending on how you hold the phone. I say fairly conventional because there are some special features. First of all, you can call up an alphabetical, indexed list of your friends by tapping the Friends button and do a reply or DM to any one on your list. Sweet. You can also touch the Pin icon to attach a
Google map of your location. Sweeter. Then, in place of the usual camera icon for attaching an image, there is multi-media icon. Tapping that allows you to post images, post audio tweets using the OS 3.0 voice recording feature, and, if you are using a 3GS and a service like MobyPictures, post video tweets using the 3GS’s video application. That makes Twittelator the first available Twitter client use the full new set of multi-media options the new iPhone hardware provides, though TwitterFon has announced they will implement the video feature in the near future.
There is also your standard url shortener and TwitShrink feature, hidden under the hood so to speak. They operate automatically on tweets over 140 characters (though you can choose one of three url shorteners in Settings), popping you back to edit after shortening to make sure your tweet still says what you intended, or you can preview by tapping the little meeting arrows thingy in the lower left corner of the screen.
Of course, this is a OS 3.0 app, so it makes full use of the Cut, Copy, Paste included in the OS keyboard.
Then too, there is the weird symbol icon which brings up, well, weird symbols you can use in your tweets. Some only work show up on iPhone twitter clients with the international keyboard enabled.
Finally, up there under the New Tweet label in the header, you will see the name of the account you are using. If you tap that, it will bring up your drafts. Oh yes Drafts. When you press Send on a tweet you have the option of saving it as a draft rather than sending it. You can save as many drafts as you want. Where this gets interesting is when you remember that you can now Copy and Paste, so you could, conceivably save a phrase you use very day in your tweets as a draft (For me it might be Pic of the Day), open the draft, copy the phrase, and paste it into a new tweet. Whether that would actually save time is questionable, but then…
On the Drafts page you will also see your account name under the word Drafts, only on this page is says “tap to change”. And it does. Tap it and it calls up your list of accounts and your can switch to any one your want for that tweet. This is still, as I mentioned up front, an awkward and impractical way to switch accounts, imho. The only other way to do it is to go to the More page, and tap the active account to open the same accounts list. Neither is ideal, and both just take too may taps.
Drafts brings up an interesting feature of Twittelator Pro, which is, I think, also unique. When Twittelator can not send a tweet it is stored and sent as soon as a solid connection is possible. This means, practically, that you can compose a tweet anywhere, anytime, even on a plane with airplane mode turned on, and send it, and as soon as Twittelator is opened with a connection if will be sent. In combination with the Save feature, which allows you, for instance, to save a whole list of tweets you do not have time to reply to before the plane lifts off, veiw them in the air even without an internet connection, and reply to what needs reply, Twittelator becomes one very powerful time saving, time redeeming, tweeting tool.
So. Twittelator Pro 3.0 takes pride of place on my iPhone for the moment. Tweetie is due for a new release (says I, not the Tweetie folks), and TwitterFon will not be bypassed I am sure. Seesmic plans an iPhone client soon, which, if as good as the desktop version, stands to be a killer app, with full Facebook and Twitter integration. TweetDeck for iPhone is new, feature rich, and I just don’t like it. Sorry.
Twittelator Pro 3.0 you are my Twitter fav for sure. I can’t promise eternal fidelity, but I can promise not to replace you until something really better comes along (and if you are working on Facebook integration that could well be Twittelator 4.0 Pro).