December 08, 2012, 7:05 AM — Up to a point, pretty much all Twitter clients look the same since, at their most basic, they all display a list of tweets. But within that spectrum, The Iconfactory's Twitterrific 5--the latest update to what was arguably the first Twitter client for iOS--has taken pains to distinguish itself from the competition and from its own previous editions.
The difference is apparent from the get-go. The previous version featured recognizable elements of iOS, from the buttons and the titlebars to the pop-up menus that appear when you tapped on an avatar or a tweet's reply button. The new version instead features a much more seamless design; yes, tweets are still broken up by dividing lines, but they still seem to flow into each other in a way that most common clients don't. The new design also isn't afraid to buck established conventions: Tap on a user's followers, or the people they're following, and you'll get a grid of avatar thumbnails instead of just the usual scrollable list.
Content is front and center in the new design, which features large tabs at the top for Tweets, Mentions, Messages, and Favorites on the iPad; on the iPhone, those labels are condensed into icons, and Favorites is shunted into the sidebar. Symmetrical round button on the left and right allow you to view a sidebar and compose a tweet, respectively. There's also quick access to lists from the sidebar, and a simple search that offers you the ability to look for tweets or a particular user. On the iPad, the sidebar can be pinned permanently to the left hand side if you feel lost without it.
The Iconfactory's used animations for effect here, with dialog boxes flying in from the edge of the screen, but they're not overwhelming or unnecessarily flashy. (Well, except perhaps the pull-to-refresh animation that features the iconic Twitter bird hatching from an egg, but there's something too hypnotic about it to just dismiss it.) And despite those animations, the app is fast and responsive, with tweets loading and scrolling quickly.