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Daily iPad App: Tweetbot emerges as a top Twitter client for the iPad

I admit I was late to the Tweetbot bandwagon. I was tempted by the initial reviews, but wasn't keen to spend the money. Yeah, it was $2.99. But, if I wanted to spend money on a Twitter app, I wanted to buy one and have that be it for awhile.

The free native Twitter app, which evolved from Tweetie, suited me until the overhaul in December. While there were some features I liked, others drove me up the wall. I found that I was using Twitter less and less because I didn't care for the redesigned iPhone app and web interface. So, I finally turned to Tweetbot, and I haven't looked back.

Steve Sande told me during Macworld that he had a beta for Tweetbot on the iPad and got the appropriate green-eyed monster stare in return. Along with the release of Tweetbot 2.0 for the iPhone, we can finally use it on the iPad as well.

If you're familiar with Tweetbot for the iPhone, the iPad version should be a piece of cake. It's set up in the way Twitter used to be set up. There's no "connect" or "discover" in this, and no hard-to-find direct message notifications. Everything is clearly laid out so it's easy to navigate among timeline, mentions, direct messages and more. Swiping to the left on a tweet shows any replies it's received, and swiping to the right shows the conversation thread. Because the iPad has more screen real estate than the iPhone, menus that were collapsed on the iPhone version now have their own place in the sidebar. In portrait mode, the side of each button is highlighted when there's a new tweet. In landscape mode the button is highlighted, and you can see how many tweets are waiting for you to peruse.

One of my favorite new features comes when you select a link. Tapping a link opens it in Tweetbot's native browser. See that little switch next to the webpage title in the top menu bar? Flip it, and Tweetbot automatically kicks the article into Readability so it's easier to read. You can set up a read-it-later service through the account settings so you can save the article to Readability, Instapaper or similar sites to read later.

The onscreen keyboard is tweaked for power users, with @ and # keys thrown in for easy access. As with Tweetbot for iPhone, you get a lot of information with each tweet including location with map, easy conversation threads, access to retweets, replies, actions, details and favorites with a tap and more. When you create a tweet, you can easily target who it'll go to, plus add tags or a picture. I love how you can automatically have it use the last photo taken as well.

While the Twitter for iPad program is OK, Tweetbot feels like it was designed by developers who actually get Twitter and understand how people use it. Based off the stream of enthusastic tweets and the reaction in the TUAW newsroom, I'm not alone in thinking that.

Check out the gallery above to see Tweetbot in portrait and landscape mode. Tweetbot for iPad is a separate purchase from its iPhone sibling and is $2.99. Is it worth paying $3 each to get both apps? Absolutely yes. You can pay a lot more for other Twitter apps and, to me, they don't even begin to come close to Tweetbot. It's a great bargain at the price and worth it to support the developers. Now, could we get Tweetbot for the Mac, please?

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