Twitter for iPad – First Impressions

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Twitter app for iPad

Twitter for iPad was released late last night.  This is of course the official app from Twitter themselves and, more importantly, the creation of Loren Brichter – the developer of the excellent Tweetie app, which was bought by Twitter.

Like many folks round the web – and seemingly 90% of the Twitterverse – I stayed up late last night once I heard it was going to be released, and played the patience-testing game of near constant App Store refreshing until I managed to download it. 

My tweet in the screenshot above was my very first impression of the app – well worth the staying up late and the wait.  Here’s some much better words, courtesy of @brandonsteili, that sum up what I was really thinking:

Seriously, @atebits has a mastery of the iOS SDK that just boggles the mind.  Incredible job on the iPad Twitter app.

I couldn’t agree more with Brandon’s thoughts.  Honestly, I had got to the point where I did not miss the Twitter app on the iPad.  I had its little brother iPhone version installed, and Osfoora HD had become my favorite iPad Twitter client.  It has a gorgeous UI and is quite good to use.

But … as soon as I’d spent 5 minutes with Twitter for iPad last night, Osfoora HD was kicked to the curb (or at least back to home screen number 7) and my first home screen had a new resident.

Twitter for iPad app

I haven’t spent a huge amount of time with the app yet, so I’ll aim to do a proper review at some stage when I have.  In the meantime, I thought I’d share just a few quick thoughts on things I’ve noticed, things that make the app so compelling, and some screenshots.

Even before you sign in, Twitter for iPad grabs your interest – by showing you categories (e.g Business, Music, Food & Drink, Technology, Sports, and lots more), top tweets, and trending topics.  This is a great feature for new users or even potential new users – a nice way to start discovering what Twitter’s all about.


Everything in the app looks equally good in both landscape and portrait mode, and works just as well in both modes – a sign of a well designed iPad app.

Twitter for iPad official app

Twitter for iPad

As he has done ever since Tweetie hit the App Store, Loren has presented us with some new and impressive ways to interact with an app with multi-touch gestures.  Clever little things like pinching to zoom on an individual tweet to see more info (and a mini profile of the tweet’s author) and pulling down with two fingers to see a conversation thread.

Everywhere you go within the app, it’s easy and intuitive to tap and see more information and more possible interactions.



Another little feature I like a lot is the ‘Similar To’ section at the bottom of a user’s profile.  I’m not sure what these are based on or how good they are just yet – but I like the idea a lot, in the same way I like seeing the ‘Users who bought this book also bought …’ section in Amazon.

There are some places where it’s a little tricky getting used to all the new ways to can interact with the app, at the outset.  For instance it uses a lot of popovers that create extra panes and go beyond the screen size when you drill down to individual tweets and similar actions – and at first I didn’t realize how to get back to a standard two pane view (which you do by just tapping back on one of the main timeline items in the left-most pane).

That’s about it for the little bits and pieces I’ve noticed so far.

Twitter for iPad is a high profile app that lots of people have been eagerly awaiting for a while now. To say it doesn’t disappoint is a huge understatement.  It’s just a brilliant Twitter client.  An app that makes it more fun than ever to spend time with Twitter, that actually makes you want to tweet more.  And that’s got to be a pretty nice confirmation for Twitter that they picked the right guy to head up their mobile apps team.

Patrick Jordan

Founder and Editor in Chief of iPad Insight. Husband, father to a lovely daughter, Commander of the Armies of the North, dog lover (especially Labs), Austinite, former Londoner, IT consultant, huge sports nut, iPad and mobile tech blogger, mobile apps junkie.

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9 thoughts on “Twitter for iPad – First Impressions”

  1. Dang it, I have to wait till I get home to install it on my iPad. Why? Because I left the thing at home! Silly boy…

    One question I do have is this, with the release of apps like Twitter and Osfoora, why do they not release it with PUSH by default? Albeit, I've been testing Notifio (looks really nice now) with Twitter and now, Facebook. Thus far it seems ok…

    1. I think some Twitter app devs beleive there are already good 3rd party solutions out there to provide notifications for Twitter and more, so they prefer not to invest in the infrastructure needed to provide this function. Doubt that is the case here of course – but I'm quite happy with letting Boxcar send me alerts.

    2. So, there's really a couple reasons for this that I've seen so far. Patrick spoke about one of them already and that's Boxcar. Good solutions already exist. The second (and biggest reason) is that it is really cost prohibitive to maintain a quality push notification service. Think about how many people use Osfoora or "Twitter/Tweetie". Let's take a random number from the sky and say 1 million people use Osfoora. And let's say on average each of those users received 5 messages per day. Again these are out of the air numbers because I have no idea how many people actually use it, or how many push messages they get a day. Now, lets assume that Osfoora used Urban Airship for their push infrastructure.

      So… here's what it looks like to support push notifications on that scale:
      1 million users x 5 push per day x 30 days = 150,000,000 push messages.
      Urban Airship charges $0.0005 per message
      Total cost per month = $75,000 (math check please somebody)

      Could you build your own infrastructure? Sure. But you're still looking at co-location services (put your stuff in a data center), server cost (at a few thousand per server), maintenance, data costs (which is a lot more than your home connection) and the ability to scale to support that level of messaging.

      Long story short – it's all about the Benjamin's.

  2. The one thing I immediately miss from Osfoora is starting in my timeline where I left off, and the indication of how many unread twitters I have left to read.

    1. Sorry, not sure what you mean by favorite management – not something I've done I don' think. I can see items I've favorited in it.

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