The original Twitter app for iPhone has undergone an extreme makeover. Iconfactory has launched Twitterrific 5 (US$2.99 for a limited time, $5.99 regular price) on the App Store, ushering in a comprehensive interface overhaul that I've become absolutely smitten with since I started using the app a few days ago.
As a longtime Tweetbot aficionado, Twitterrific's design overhaul was initially a bit shocking in its simplicity. The default timeline view places an emphasis on the text of tweets, displaying them in larger-than-average type with wide-line spacing on a solid background. The result is clean, clutter-free and easy on the eyes.
What really makes Twitterrific stand out, however, is the ease with which you can customize its already lovely aesthetic. Using a dedicated appearance panel, you can select from five different fonts (Helvetica, Proxima Nova, Signika, Museo Slab and Calluna), increase and decrease the font size, resize or remove avatars, change line spacing and toggle between a light and dark theme. This panel also has its own brightness slider independent of the device's. Overall, there's a high degree of customization. What's more, you can have Twitterrific automatically switch to the dark theme during nighttime hours, which has ended up being even nicer than it sounds.
The interface is smooth and fast, with secondary screens such as the built-in browser and image viewer sliding into and out of view quickly and moving between screens is lightning fast, even on my iPhone 4. Followers and followed users are presented in a unique grid view of their names and avatars, which is a nice touch, especially if you're like me and associate the people you follow mostly with their pictures.
Twitterrific's interface is kept very clean. This is possible because most of its functionality is hidden until you either tap or swipe. For instance, tapping on a tweet makes reply, retweet, favorite and advanced options icons appear below it. The two most commonly used actions -- reply and view conversation -- are tied to right and left swipes on tweets. It works great.
Tapping your avatar in the upper-left corner of the screen brings up a menu where you can access your own tweets and favorites, a search field, saved searches and lists. On the iPad, this menu can be pinned permanently to the left-hand side in landscape view.
Twitterrific's advanced settings let you choose between iCloud and Tweet Marker as sync services, decide sync behavior, enable/disable notification sounds and turn the unified timeline on and off. The latter uses color coding to differentiate tweet types, something I've loved in previous versions and has thankfully made the cut for this fifth iteration.
Twitterrific 5 has pull-to-refresh. It's not an innovation by any means, but the animated egg icon the slowly cracks revealing Ollie, the app's mascot who flaps his wings while loading, is absolutely charming. It's little touches like this that showcase Iconfactory's attention to design and really give the app a polished feel.
Of course, as much as I'm liking Twitterrific 5, there are some things I'd love to see. For one, more swipe integration would be great, such as when you want to return to your timeline from an image or browser window. A simple swipe to the right a la Flipboard would cut down on taps. Also, the ability to chose reply or reply all, and to determine the RT type you'd like to use each time, would be great. And maybe I'm missing it, but there's no quick way to clear a draft tweet.
Twitterrific 5 is a beautiful, fast and clearly very well-thought out Twitter client that delivers a "pure" reading experience without a distracting interface. Its view customization options are awesome. It's not quite as feature-rich as Tweetbot, but I still wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to heavy users, especially if like me, you want to spend hours staring at something that looks as good as it functions.