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With the latest 5.7 update released today, Twitterrific for iOS, The Iconfactory’s popular Twitter client, has gone freemium: the app is now free to download with In-App Purchases to unlock more features and remove ads from the app. For those who have been around to witness Twitterrific’s evolution through the years, this move actually marks the return of The Iconfactory’s client to a freemium business model with ads.
From the company’s official blog post:
Twitterrific has been available in the App Store since day one and we’ve experimented with different revenue models in the past, including the one we’re returning to today. Our hope is that this helps get Twitterrific into more people’s hands than ever before so they can enjoy the simple beauty of reading and posting tweets once again. The update also includes some improvements including upping the number of tweets the timeline can hold to 500, something users have been requesting more and more.
The Iconfactory’s Gedeon Maheux published his thoughts on the new strategy in a separate blog post:
There are lots of risks with moving to this type of revenue model, but version 4 of Twitterrific was by far our most successful and that version was supported by ad revenue from The Deck. No doubt levels of support will increase dramatically for us but that’s part of the trade-off of having successful, thriving software. I’m also personally curious to see if moving to the free model and increasing the app’s downloads by at least 1 or 2 orders of magnitude will improve Twitterrific’s search results in the App Store.
For existing customers who bought Twitterrific 5.0 when it launched in December 2012, all features will be automatically unlocked by default. Twitterrific’s renewed freemium approach comes at an interesting time: Apple is testing a feature to enable customers to find more specific, relevant apps in search results (whose ranking is affected by the number of downloads, which a freemium strategy can facilitate), and Twitter is still enforcing a token limit on third-party clients. While news of third-party Twitter apps exceeding their token limits aren’t new on other platforms, popular clients for iOS such as Tweetbot and Twitterrific have so far managed to always accommodate new users without issues.
It’ll be interesting to see how going freemium will affect Twitterrific’s popularity and relevance in search results; in the past months, the app received several enhancements such as live streaming and background refresh. Features that are now part of the In-App Purchase include tweet translation, Today view, and push notifications, which are automatically unlocked using iOS 7′s receipt validation for existing customers.
Twitterrific 5.7 is available on the App Store.
Hey! Live streaming for Twitterrific is really here. It works over Wi-Fi, and can be enabled by toggling the setting in the settings. Live streaming works similarly to “pin timeline” settings in other apps, where enabling live streaming makes it so that you’re always viewing the latest tweets in your timeline. You can scroll around, but the timeline will jump to the most recent tweet when left idle (useful for anyone who docks their iPhone in a cradle at their desk). On the flip side, Live streaming keeps the display turned on, which can unintentionally drain your battery if you set your phone down or forget to put it to sleep. I think it needs some fine tuning before it’s just right.
Something to keep in mind is that Twitterrific enabled background refreshing in a previous update, which fetches tweets when you’re outside of the app. If you only check the app a few times a day, Live streaming might not be such a big deal. If you’re always on Twitter, however, Live streaming is worth turning on, despite some caveats.
The other biggie found in Twitterrific 5.6 is list management. You can create, add people to, and remove people from lists. You can create and delete lists, as well as set whether they’re private. I would expect to find a lot of this functionality in the sidebar, but Twitterrific has it tucked away in a contextual menu. Creating and managing lists is done by tapping and holding on an avatar in your timeline, selecting “Manage in Lists,” and going from there. I kept looking for list settings, a hidden add button, and kept wondering what I was missing — it’s pretty well hidden. You can also get to it by tapping the gear icon when viewing someone’s profile.
As for the smaller things, you can now view images in Direct Messages, as well as copy discussions from the share menu.
Live streaming for Twitterrific has obviously been a long time coming. Twitterrific 5 has been a series of big incremental improvements, starting with things like Push Notifications and Muffling, and performance continues to blow me away. To celebrate their big update, Twitterrific 5.6 is $0.99 for a limited time in the App Store, and those who’ve previously purchased the app can download the update for free. And you’re getting a lot of bang for your buck: the app works across iPhone and iPad.
Perhaps the last remaining question is when is The Iconfactory going to bring these updates back to the Mac?
Twitterrific, for a long time, was my mainstay Twitter app. It’s beautiful, functional, and extremely fast, but I’ve found myself gravitating away towards Tweetbot and Twitter’s own app. It’s not that I don’t like Twitterrific, but I needed a change of scenery, and Twitter’s own Connect tab has spoiled me with a wealth of information such as follows, RTs, and yellow stars intermingled with mentions — things I swore I never cared about. I think the biggest killer for me has been the prolonged wait for an updated Twitterrific on the Mac, which feels outdated in comparison to its iOS counterpart.
The neat thing about Twitterrific was that it was practically already ready for iOS 7. At least visually, Twitterrific had already adopted thin fonts, bright neon colors that go great with the iPhone 5c, and a sleek barebones interface. This doesn’t even account for Twitterrific’s unique layout; much of the app doesn’t really conform to traditional iOS conventions anyway (consider the tab bar at the top of the screen rather than the bottom). With iOS 7 the visual updates are relatively minor, with wire-thin icons and small visual updates prevalent throughout. Not even Ollie changed too much in Twitterific’s new stark white icon.
Twitterrific’s biggest notable update is background refreshing (The Iconfactory calls it “fetching”). Streaming isn’t something Twitterrific has been known for, but as long as the app is kept in the background, it will load new tweets in so they’ll be ready to read when you open the app. That to me makes Twitterrific much more viable as a daily Twitter app.
There’s lots of minor updates. You can tweet links directly from the in-app browser (great feature) and you can additionally opt to open links in Chrome. Various links are now tappable in bios. They’re all things that continue to make Twitterrific super friendly.
In fact, of all the current Twitter apps, I’d say Twitterrific is still the most friendly. Gestures are broad, sensible, and fast to execute. Twitterrific’s blazing performance continues to be stellar: tweets load unbelievably quickly as you swipe to view conversations. The core experience is about messages, whereas Twitter’s official app feels like it teeters on personal branding and brand engagement, while Tweetbot is dense with features but a little slower and not yet updated for iOS 7.
Twitterrific for iOS 7 is largely the same as its predecessors, but it continues to get faster in every iteration. I don’t know how much more performance The Iconfactory can wring out of their app before Twitterrific flies off the face of the phone. With refreshed graphics, speedy improvements, and gesture updates that better let Twitterrific mingle with iOS 7’s native gestures, you might want to consider taking another look at the blue bird if you haven’t already.
Twitterrific can be downloaded from the App Store for $2.99 for a limited time, 50% off the regular price.
- In fact, I almost don’t like Apple’s new multitasking interface for this reason. It encourages people to close apps, but if you do, those apps can’t perform background tasks. The new multitasking interface is perhaps misleading and counterintuitive for this reason. ↩
If you’ve ever wondered how the world started using the word “tweet”, read Craig’s post for a great piece of Internet history.
Redesigned from the ground up, Twitterrific launched last December with a fresh design that pleasantly surprised long time fans of the app. Breaking ground on the original iPhone, Twitterrific has relatively stayed the same for years, subtracting unnecessary features and focusing on delivering a robust core experience. Today, people expect more from their Twitter clients, such as the ability to mute hashtags and receive push notifications for follows and replies. The Iconfactory addressed the former through their last update with muffling, a simple way to shush users, hashtags, and domains on the timeline. Yesterday, The Iconfactory began addressing the latter by introducing push notifications in Twitterrific 5.2.
When The Iconfactory launched Twitterrific 5, they launched an app that reflected a specific vision of what a Twitter client should be. Twitterrific certainly hasn’t lost its charm since it launched back in December. Setting itself apart with a modern interface and clever gestures, Twitterrific started anew with a clean slate and plenty of room to add features thanks to feedback from their fans. Throughout the last few months, The Iconfactory has been progressively iterating Twitterrific, leading up to the first major update which launched yesterday evening.
The most notable feature in Twitterrific 5.1 is muffling. It’s muting made simple.
Behind The Scenes Of Twitterrific 5
The Iconfactory’s Craig Hockenberry has published a “behind the scenes” look at their most recent release, Twitterrific 5. I recommend reading it, as it doesn’t involve too many technical aspects of the software, but instead puts the decisions made by The Iconfactory in more context:
We are well aware that people are going to complain about missing features: push notifications and streaming are obvious examples. But so are trends, and video support, and in-line photos, and… well none of that matters. We believe in building opinionated software.
Our Cody Fink, in his review of Twitterrific 5 posted last night:
It may be completely redesigned, but the core tenets that Twitterrific were founded upon remain in 5. Twitterrific has always been opinionated, decidedly simple, and never wanted to compete for your attention. And at its heart, Twitterrific 5 is still a Twitter app built with the same passion The Iconfactory builds into all of their apps. Twitterrific 5 is simply a better Twitterrific.
Here’s my take on Twitterrific: it is the result of a very specific vision. The Iconfactory doesn’t prioritize notifications, filters, third-party service integration, or custom image uploads as much as they strive to build an extremely polished Twitter client meant for reading.
I am what you may call a “Twitter power user”. There’s truth to that: I use filters, custom uploads, web services, and I spend most of my day on Twitter. Twitterrific isn’t meant for me. Thinking to rely on it as my go-to Twitter client will probably make me frustrated in the end, leading me to “hate” an app that’s actually made by nice people. I don’t want to do that.
So I have a simple suggestion. If you don’t think Twitterrific 5 can be your main client, it doesn’t have to be. No one is forcing you to buy the thing everyone is talking about. You’re probably not “missing out”. But I will also say this: if you have three bucks and you’re genuinely interested in trying something new — a fresh experience — go get Twitterrific 5 and try it. I’m not saying it’ll become your favorite app, but if you care about quality handcrafted software, maybe you’ll take away something from it.
I’m glad I did, because even if Twitterrific won’t be in my dock, as someone whose job is to write about software, now I know that other things are possible.
Twitterrific 5. It’s been fun to watch Twitter’s reaction to an app that I, and other writers, wanted to surprise the world with. Alas, it was bound to leak, unsurprisingly by Apple’s Japanese App Store. The Iconfactory’s latest iteration of their famed Twitter client is shockingly different isn’t it? The same gut reactions I watched unfold on Twitter could not better describe the same gut reactions I had when I first saw just how striking the new interface is.
Sharing the first pic of Twitterrific 5 with my coworkers resulted in an immediate, “Wow.” After a few more screenshots, “That looks like a Windows 8 app. Like Track 8.” It’s an absolutely fair assessment. And it’s one I’ve seen echoed on Twitter as I watched the tweets scroll by. Thankfully, Twitterrific 5 is as much of an iOS app as it ever was. No text hangs off the screen — no “CTURES” as Federico and I will joke.
Twitterrific 5 presents itself dressed in black with Helvetica accents and familiar shades of orange and blue for mentions and messages. It’s both instantly recognizable and obviously different. In contrast to colored entries and standard rectangular iOS elements, it is typography, floating buttons, and rounded corners that are pervasive in the new Twitterrific.