Yesterday saw the release of the official Twitter iPhone app, which is basically a newer version of the popular Tweetie app, which Twitter acquired recently.

The move also puts Twitter in direct competition with other app developers, who may be a bit peeved at the fact that this app is available free of charge.

I’ve been trying the new app out…

The app may well appeal to new users of Twitter more than some others, since it can be used without logging in and setting up an account to search through trending topics and browse and read others’ tweets. Users can also sign up for a Twitter account within the app. 

The basic functionality is the same as Tweetie, with tweets from displayed in a timeline. One nice touch is that, by pulling the page down, it will refresh with any new tweets.

However, if you come back to the app after a while, you need to spend time scrolling back to the top to see any new entries; a shortcut back to the top would be useful here. 

By swiping any of the tweets in your timeline, you can bring up a quick menu which allows you to reply or retweet, as well as bookmarking it for later or emailing it: 

The usual search features are there, and search within results and you can store searches, though takes a few clicks to get back to these stored searches each time, as with lists, making this less usable than some other apps. 

You can see details and the profile of anyone in your stream, which includes the information on whether or not they are following you as well: 

Key stats on follower / following counts and number of tweets are also shown: 

There are a few omissions here though. For instance, you cannot access someone’s profile and see a list of their most recent tweets, something which I find useful on the Tweetdeck app. UPDATE: Actually, you can see recent Tweets via the ‘clock’ icon, something I originally missed. Not obvious for the first time user though. 

Another major problem with the app is that you cannot edit before retweeting, which is a big omission. Also, while other apps provide the choice, you can only retweet the new way, while I personally prefer the ‘classic’ method so you can see more clearly who is doing the retweeting. 

Conclusion

Since it’s free, the new Twitter app is probably a good introduction for new users as it allows them to access Twitter without having to create an account first. 

Despite the fact that it can be slow to load at times, I prefer Tweetdeck for the iPhone, partly because I am so familiar with the desktop version, but also that it offers more functionality than this new app. 

I am disappointed by the app, my main gripe being the limited retweeting options, and I think there are better third party apps available.