After TUAW posted prematurely about Tweetbot for Mac and revealed the price, all hell pretty much broke loose with people including yours truly complaining about the price. I overreacted at that time but after thinking about the price, the developers and the platform, I felt the need to write a post about all of it.
When I joined Twitter, I used Twitterrific and eventually moved to the official iPhone app when it was released. I also heard a lot about Tweetbot which was supposed to be the best Twitter experience bar none. I bought it for $3. I am yet to regret that purchase. As far as I’m concerned, Tweetbot is Twitter for me. I have tried other apps and hated them all. Nothing comes close to it. I also bought it on the iPad. It makes me want to use Twitter more. The sounds and gestures are all amazing and I can’t imagine Twitter without any of them. Having a powerful muting system is a huge added bonus because my timeline gets filled with stupid brands promoting their stupid crap through stupid people.
I never paid attention to their apps barring Tweetbot for iPhone when I bought it. When I met Preshit and saw every tapbot app on his phone, I asked why he got em all. He told me to use them and see for myself. I ended up buying every tapbot app in the store that night. I love their apps. I even bought Netbot for iOS on iPad and iPhone. I don’t really care for them as people but they make great apps. People who don’t use their apps probably think it is all overpriced. I disagree. Convertbot makes you want to convert stuff for no reason just to gaze at the pixels.
On Paying for Twitter Clients
Most people are shocked at the very thought of paying for Twitter clients. I’ve heard stuff like “Twitter is free so Twitter apps should be free” and “why should I pay for this here when I already bought it there”. My logic is simple. If something improves your experience with something else considerably, it is worth the cost. I know people who use Tweetbot for iPhone on the iPhone and iPad. I really love both apps. I use them a lot. I have invested into other Twitter apps on iOS and Windows Phone. There is nothing close to Tweetbot on iOS. Windows Phone has some great apps like Mehdoh that are full of great functionality. I am yet to buy one on Android because barring Twidere that is open source, the apps are all garbage. If you think Twitter apps should be free, use the terrible official apps that suck on every platform. Tapbots are smart. Twitter has gone from having great apps after acquiring Tweetie to absolute garbage. Tapbots have put their Twitter apps on sale after the official apps changed for the worse and made money out of it. I’m glad more people bought their apps because the Tapbots Twitter experience is the best Twitter experience. To the people complaining about having to pay for the same app on different platforms as opposed to a universal app, think of how much effort goes into designing for different devices categories. While it may not matter to you, developers spend time and work hard to make their apps work well on different devices. The very fact that people are willing to sit through promoted tweets and ads in their timeline in apps that have almost no features just proves to you why Twitter thinks they can get away with the bullshit they are pulling with their latest API rules.
On the Future of Twitter
Twitter has put a token limit on all existing apps and new apps. Their new API basically takes away tons of features that we have grown to use often. Twitter started off as a geeky platform for people who were sick of Facebook for the most part and now it is becoming the very platform the early adopters despise. The very fact that App dot Net exists proves that there are users who are willing to pay for the ability to have an ad free experience with good third party clients. The new API limitations basically kill all 3rd party development on Twitter apps and how this will change in the future is yet to be seen. I started using Twitter with 3rd party apps and still continue to do so because of 3rd party apps. At the rate Twitter is going, it looks like the only way to tweet without resorting to garbage official apps is through the native iOS integration. This is something I love about Netbot for iOS. Cross posting to Twitter bypassing their stupid rules using native iOS integration.
On Tweetbot for Mac Pricing and the Future
Tweetbot for Mac was released as a public alpha for free. Tons of users enjoyed it and continued to use it into the beta. Tapbots had to block more tokens getting created to make sure they have enough for a Mac App Store release. The app finally released today and is priced at $19.99. This price seems excessive and the reasoning behind it is something that most end users don’t care about. I have been using it since day one and absolutely love it. It is feature packed and the gestures work well on the magic trackpad. The question here is not about investing into Tapbots but investing into Twitter as a platform when 3rd party apps are slowly being killed off. My favourite app on Android is Twidere and they have had to implement rate limiting for timeline refreshing. It is really annoying. Twitter is forcing you into using their official crap. There are a number of issues that need to be addressed by Tapbots. They say that the price is justified because of the lower number of probable app users which means less money. So a higher price will ensure support for a long time. I am completely confident in them to support the app but am not confident at all in Twitter as a platform for 3rd party apps. When it comes to updating the app from the Mac App Store, I want to know how they will continue to update an app that cannot be downloaded by new users after the token limit is reached. Also wont people using the pirated version of the app use tokens? A higher price means less users jumping in so a longer period of the token pool lasting. The choice of going Mac App Store makes sense because there’s no other way to implement iCloud integration and the sync Tweetbot has across all devices is great. Echofon was $20 at one point with a free version that had ads and that app has nowhere near the functionality that Tweetbot has.
Investing so much into a platform that is killing off 3rd party apps slowly is a tough decision. Investing into Tapbots is not a bad idea given their track record. I’d love for this app to be able to post to App Dot Net and Twitter but apparently Twitter has another rule about this that doesn’t allow it. I for one will be investing into Tweetbot for Mac simply because I can’t shift to an app like TweetDeck or god forbid, the web. While Twitter is slowly killing off apps and features power users love, App Dot Net is slowly flourishing with some great apps on every platform including Android. The choice is yours. If you decide to buy Tweetbot for Mac, it is available on the Mac App Store for $19.99.
[Masthead via Jorge]