Aplos is a very flawed, but beautiful new Twitter client

Aplos screenshot

Aplos is a brand new Twitter app for iPhone that tries to shove important user features into a minimalistic design. Some highlights include a unified timeline for multiple accounts, web browsing reminiscent of Facebook's chat heads and intelligent tweet actions for each account. In a very crowded App Store category, Aplos enters as a US$4.99 Twitter client for iOS 7.0 or later.

As far as first impressions go, Aplos makes a terrific one. The design is nothing short of beautiful. The app even comes in six different color themes, including the default red and white, if you want to give it a nice paint job. The timeline streams tweets live from all of your Twitter accounts, which is clear by the profile picture thumbnails on the top left. Tap them to switch to individual views.

The UI for tweet actions harkens back to the era of Tweetie, which featured a left-swipe gesture on any tweet to reply, retweet, favorite and some other actions. This works nicely in Aplos and helps keep the main timeline cleaner.

Another feature I love is the chat head-like web browsing. Tap any link in Aplos, including tweet permalinks, and a thumbnail of that page bounces out from where you tapped and pleasantly lands in the bottom right hand corner. Tapping multiple links will store all of them in that corner and they all open up in a tab view when you're ready.

In recent years, Twitter has been severely limiting the capabilities of third-party clients by restricting API access as well as just flat-out not providing APIs for features like seeing when people retweet or favorite your tweets. Aplos suffers from this hindrance, but it's not fair to blame this app or any others.

Unfortunately, those are far from the only features Aplos is missing. There is absolutely no sign of direct messages anywhere within the app, which now more than ever is a prominent part of Twitter. Even worse, the app doesn't suggest usernames or hashtags when you start typing either in a tweet, forcing you to use memory as your only source, which most of the time (at least in my experience) doesn't work out so well.

Twitter profiles only display the bio, location, website and information about who you know that follows the account and if the account follows you. Aplos lacks a way to view tweets from an individual account. It also lacks a way to view individual tweets themselves. Yes, a permalink is present, but that inadequately opens the tweet in an in-app browser window.

The fact that Aplos is missing this smorgasbord of Twitter essentials is downright disappointing. I'm reminded a bit of the iPhone when it first debuted. Its gorgeous design and functionality successfully distracted from it lacking many basics such as video recording and MMS messaging. There's no doubt this Twitter client mimics the stunning design aspect, but functionally, Aplos is missing too much right now to recommend -- especially with its relatively high price tag of $4.99.