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Avian: Global Tweets Mapped on the Apple TV

Most of my time on the new Apple TV (probably around 90%) revolves around watching video (a combination of Plex, Netflix, Stan, iTunes or ABC iView). The final 10% is games and novelty apps like the hilarious GIFtv. The latest novelty app to catch my eye is Avian – a Twitter client.

But Avian is not a Twitter client like Tweetbot – that would be impractical for the Apple TV. Instead, Avian displays one tweet at a time, and literally places it on a map of the earth. You might be reading a tweet from the heart of New York City, and then Avian will surface a tweet from a user in Brazil, China, or New Zealand. As you transition from tweet to tweet, Avian zooms in and out, and rotates the map to the location of the tweet.

It still isn't very practical to use Avian to read all your tweets, but it could be useful in other contexts. I can imagine businesses and organizations with Apple TVs in public spaces could use Avian as an interesting conversation starter. But even if it is a bit of a novelty for individual users, it's worth a download because it really is quite beautiful. You'll almost certainly be mesmerised as Avian takes you around the globe, particularly if you turn on the stunning satellite imagery. It also highlights just how connected our world is by social networks like Twitter which allow for truly simultaneous global conversations.

Avian is free, but if you want to display tweets from people you follow in your own timeline, you will have to unlock an in-app purchase (it only costs a few dollars). Alternatively, instead of showing tweets from people you follow, you can show tweets with a hashtag or search phrase. The one big limitation is that Avian will only show you tweets from people who add their location to their tweets.

Avian is available from the tvOS App Store; more details are available here.

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