Twitter iPad App Review: Multi-Panels and Multi-Functions
The app comes with the full range of modern Twitter features, ranging from list support, URL shrinking, image and video attachments, location and multiple accounts (rare in most free Twitter iPad apps). Tweeting is as simple as clicking the Compose Tweet button in the bottom left corner, and the app comes with full support for drafts. Plus, you'll find Instapaper support, which is much-appreciated for saving articles you find to read later.
Most apps treat all tweets the same. Apps like Flipboard, and now the official Twitter app, display tweets according to their context. So if you click on a friend's message that contains a shared link, it will open in a new pane and immediately load the contained webpage (complete with images, playable videos and pretty much everything -- except Flash). If you click on an @reply tweet, a new pane will open and reveal a reverse chronological history of the entire conversation; which is an enormous improvement over current implementations. Tweets with hashtags, then, reveal the latest messages containing the same hashtag. It's a really smart way to display content, and an experience we're not even seeing on the Web yet.
The Twitter app has a couple problems. If you open up a webpage into fullscreen view, you immediately lose all browser options and actions, meaning you can't navigate back, share or reload without returning to the multi-pane view. You can open and close profile panes by pinching individual tweets, but it's not an intuitive gesture. Similarly, a two finger drag down on a post containing an @reply will load the entire conversation -- again, not that obvious.
In general, Twitter is best used in tandem with other apps. Because the iPad still doesn't have multitasking, the process of moving to the iPad app to share something you grabbed from Safari is far clunkier than it should be. While the app is gorgeously designed and smooth enough to keep you entertained for days -- we spent a good half hour just playing with the movable panes -- it should be a significantly better experience once Apple releases OS 4.2 in November. That said, Twitter has launched one of the best Twitter clients for the 'Pad, and, in the process, implemented some immensely usable and innovative touch-based mobile design ideas.