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First Look: Tapbots releases Netbot App.net clients for iPad, iPhone

Tapbots, the developer behind the wildly successful Tweetbot Twitter app, has just released Netbot (US$4.99 each for iPad and iPhone). The new apps are clients for the App.net social network, seen by many as an ad-free and open alternative to the increasingly restrictive Twitter.

I had a chance to load Netbot on my iPad during lunch today, and for anyone who is used to Tweetbot, you'll be right at home with the app. The gestures are similar, the UI is very familiar, and just some of the names have been changed -- i.e., "post" and "repost" as opposed to "tweet" and "retweet" in Tweetbot.

As with Tweetbot, you can sync the most recently read posts and settings via iCloud with a single tap. It's a nice feature if you have multiple devices running Netbot, as you can switch from one to the other without having to scroll through previously read posts.

One very cool feature is that you can cross-post from App.net to Twitter using this app. That's great for those of us who use both services, but don't want to have to re-enter messages. That feature eluded me for a few minutes until I discovered in Settings > Twitter that I somehow hadn't allowed Netbot to have access to my Twitter accounts.

Some commenters are already bemoaning the fact that not only is Tapbots "forcing" them to purchase two more apps -- in addition to Tweetbot for iPad and iPhone -- but raising the price to $5 from the $3 Tweetbot price. Personally, I think anyone who has spent their $36 (recently lowered) for a year of App.net service can probably afford to spend 10 bucks for a couple of apps. Tapbots is not in the business of making friends; they're in the business of writing great apps to make money.

A more complete review will be coming soon; in the meantime, enjoy the screenshots (iPad version) of these new additions to the Tapbot family in the gallery below.

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