Finally, with everyone watching, Twitter is releasing an official iPhone app.
This has been expected since their purchase of Atebits, developers of Tweetie and Tweetie 2. In fact, Tweetie 2 users should see the new Twitter app as a “free update” for the Tweetie 2 app in iTunes (even though, as of this writing, the link is not yet live).
As a Twitter user since August of 2007, Tweetie 2 (and before that, Tweetie) has been my Twitter app of choice on the iPhone for a long time. The user interface, reliability, and support for multiple accounts are key factors in that decision (although lately I’ve been flirting with the TweetDeck app). In my opinion, Twitter got it right when they acquired Atebits. Twitter aficionados on the iPhone will have a robust, full-featured app, unlike the official Twitter for BlackBerry app. No need for beta testing; the app has been tested on the open market for well over a year. You could say that Twitter, true to Twitter philosophy, “crowdsourced” their app.
Tweetie 2 cost $2.99 when it was available; the Twitter app will be free.
Some questions remain to be answered: Will there be a significant difference from Tweetie 2? Does this app signal the impending appearance of Twitter ads? Will an official Twitter app kill competing apps like Echofon? Most importantly, will there still be amusing sound effects?
As soon as it’s installed, I’ll be test-driving Twitter for the iPhone, and I’ll let you know.