App of the day 10: Twitter.

We’re finally on day ten of the iPhone apps. Today, let’s look at Twitter. Let’s face it, we use that a lot more than most websites or social media applications. It’s only fitting then that there’s so much choice.

The main Twitter apps that I have used are: Echofon, Tweetlist and of course, the official Twitter app.

Each app has its positives and negatives but there’s no doubting that each of them have a place on most of our iPhone.

Firstly, let’s look at Echofon. This got a lot of bad press over the past six or eight months. In IOS 4 a bug was introduced when using Echofon for Voiceover users that caused Echofon to crash when a user tried to swipe to the search field from the top of the screen. This problem does not seem to exist in IOS5 so it might be worth giving Echofon another look when IOS5 is released in September. Echofon supports the following features:
Firstly, Echofon is great when you regularly move between devices to read tweets. It works on the iPhone, the Mac and Windows so when you’ve read a few tweets and you want to continue from another device you can pick up where you left off. This is a major selling point of Echofon pro.
Echofon supports lists and allows you to modify and create lists from within the application.
The app comes in a free version that includes ads and limits certain features and a pro version that costs €3.99. Both versions now come with push notification. Push notification is not something that is available with all twitter clients on the iPhone.
Echofon does not require you to enable geo tagging every time you want to show your location. It is on enabled or disabled globally but you have the option of turning it off temporarily in a tweet you are composing if you need to.
Echofon has probably the nicest interface for reading and replying to tweets of any of the other twitter clients for the iPhone.
Unfortunately Echofon does not show real names. It only shows the Twitter username when reading through the list.

Tweetlist also comes in two varieties. The Free app only allows you to use one account and includes advertisements in the interface. The paid version costs €2.33 but allows you to have as many accounts as you can shake a stick at. Some of the features of Tweetlist are below:
You can see users by their display name and not just by their twitter username. This is something that can be configured within the settings.
Replying to a message requires less tapping. There’s one button and no additional menus are shown. This is the same for retweeting and direct messages.
You can easily choose the link to open in a tweet, response or direct message and you can also choose to open this in safari instead of using the basic imbedded browser.
Unfortunately Tweetlist does not have the ability to provide push notifications. These can however be obtained by using a second app called Boxcar. This however has a few limitations. When you tap view when a notification is received, Boxcar opens then redirects you to Tweetlist. You may however not be on the screen where the mention or direct message is shown so the process of navigating to the tweet is significantly slower than when using the native Twitter app or Echofon.

The Twitter app is now reasonably integrated into IOS5, the latest version of the software used on the iPhone. When configuring Twitter preferences in the settings screen, you are given the option to download Twitter directly from the App store. This app is free but lacks some functionality found in both Echofon and Tweetlist. Most significantly compared to Tweetlist, the Twitter ap does not show real names. Accessibility with Voiceover has however undergone a major improvement lately so if you haven’t tried this App in a while it might be worth having another look More features and disadvantages are shown below:
The Twitter app includes the ability to provide push notifications. These allow you to see responses and direct messages when you are not in the Twitter app. For example, if your phone is locked but you receive a DM it will be displayed in a similar way to when a text message is shown.
I like composing tweets in the Twitter app. The options are very easy to find by switching between keyboard and options views.
The main downfall of the Twitter app is although it can be configured to show the full name / real name in the settings, this setting has no impact on the names shown when looking at the main list of tweets. If this one issue was resolved I would probably use Twitter as my main app.

Sorry if this wasn’t as detailed as you might like however please leave a comment with any questions and I’ll try to answer them all. Unfortunately today, I’ve been much busier than I anticipated.


One Response to App of the day 10: Twitter.

  1. With the Twitter App isn’t it also correct that you have to read the most up to date tweet first regardless of how many tweets you have had since you last checked it? I can’t understand why this has to be. With Tweetlist, which is my preferred app at present when I open it up and resume checking tweets I can start from where I left off. I do agree with you that the lack of push notification with Tweetlist is a drawback but apart from that it is a great app.