Twitterrific 5 is here, and it’s impressive. Not only is it significant in its design, but it may herald the culmination of an era: this may be the last great Twitter client released for iOS. Twitter has made it clear that, going forward, third-party apps are unappreciated. And yet, Twitterrific 5 exists.
The app itself is beautiful. It’s a complete redesign; the lineage is obvious, but Twitterrific 5 is faster, smoother, and more cohesive than any previous version of the app. This is the type of app that shows how great design and implementation can be on Apple’s platform: from the custom UI (which reminds me of webOS in many ways, ironically enough), to the familiar but subtly different menu that slides in from the left, to the use of gestures, Twitterrific 5 feels like a step ahead of the competition.
The most-used part of any Twitter client is the timeline view. Traditional clients almost universally display this as a list, with the tweets in chronological order, with the newest at the top. Some apps opt for a more designed look, but The Iconfactory has kept Twitterrific 5 remarkably classy. Depending on your theme (there are both Light and Dark themes – just as in previous versions), the background is either white or black. Text is displayed in one of five user-selectable options (Helvetica, Proxima Nova, Signika, Museo Slab, and Calluna), and tweets are separated by a well-designed, small line which really helps to accent other aspects of the app.
The traditional controls (new tweet, user account, home, @ replies, and direct messages) are all displayed in round buttons. These are what reminds me of webOS, and that is in no way a bad thing: the buttons look stylish, and give Twitterrific a distinct design. I also feel as if this custom UI makes the app feel significantly more friendly and less intimidating than other Twitter clients.
Controls such as reply, retweet, star, and more (which slides up another dialog that contains options such as translate, email, and show discussion) can be summoned by tapping an individual tweet. In addition, The Iconfactory has made frequently accessed actions quicker to bring up with swipes. Swiping to the right on an individual tweet activates the reply command, while swiping to the left shows the discussion. All of these features are available in other apps, but Twitterrific 5 does bring a certain amount of understated polish that distinguishes it from the rest.
Multiple accounts are supported in Twitterrific 5. The implementation is clever, if not ground-breaking: tapping and holding the account icon in the upper left-hand corner brings up a way to switch accounts. For anyone that needs it, this feature is incredibly handy. While it takes less taps to switch accounts in Twitterrific 5 than it does in other clients, the amount of time it takes to do so is roughly the same due to the press-and-hold approach.
The use of animation in the app is fantastic: while iOS is no stranger to animation, it is considerably harder to find an app that harnesses animation in a way that makes the app both easier to use and more pleasing at the same time. Twitterrific 5 does this with aplomb, and The Iconfactory deserves praise for it. Transitions are smooth and quick, and many are pleasing to watch. Animation helps the user to realize what is happening on the screen, and makes it obvious that the app is still working. For example, the refresh animation. It’s a bird (Twitter’s logo, to be precise) being hatched from an egg, and then soaring through the air. This happens in stages as you pull down to refresh the client, and is just one example of how clever and well-done the animation is: there were times when I would pull down just to see the bird fly and marvel at the ingenuity behind it.
In many ways, the bird being hatched and flying away is the perfect analogy for Twitterrific 5. There are other fantastic clients available. Those clients will remain popular, no doubt, but Twitterrific 5 is so far the most polished and delightful to use. If the first version of Twitterrific was an egg, then every version after was the egg hatching, slowly rising with grace. Twitterrific 5 is Twitterrific in its stride, soaring.
Twitterrific 5 is available in the App Store. The app is a universal binary, so it includes both iPhone and iPad versions. This is an all new application, so users of previous versions of Twitterrific will have to purchase this version.
Note: While other Twitter clients have been in the news recently for running out of tickets (i.e., hitting the 100,000 user limit imposed by Twitter), Twitterrific will not have this issue. When I asked the developers over at The Iconfactory, they replied:
We have more than enough tokens for everyone. We don’t expect to ever run out.
In other words, The Iconfactory isn’t expecting Twitter’s API token cap to be an issue for their users any time soon.