It’s amazing what taking one of the best iPhone apps, making it free, and giving it a better name will do. Actually, it’s not. Twitter for iPhone has rocketed to the number 1 app (free app, but undoubtedly overall as well) in the App Store following its release yesterday. And Apple has wasted no time heaping praise on the app in its own way, by making it the coveted iPhone App of the Week in the App Store.
Twitter for iPhone, of course, is the new name for Tweetie, the app made by the company Atebits (really, Loren Brichter) until they were acquired by Twitter in April. While Tweetie itself was already extremely popular (that tends to happen when you make the best-of-class app), its popularity is bound to hit a whole different level now. First of all, the app used to cost $2.99, but Twitter decided to make it free. Perhaps more importantly though, the new branding — simply “Twitter” in the App Store — makes it much more visible to the masses looking for the best Twitter app through search.
And that’s exactly why Twitter made the purchase — they needed a way to further their brand on mobile clients, so users weren’t confused, and got the best experience. On BlackBerry and Android phones, they built their own apps from scratch. But they likely realized it would be hard to top Tweetie, so they just bought it. Smart move.
The app itself remains the best Twitter client for the iPhone. There are a few small changes here and there, such as more emphasis on the new-style Retweets, which some people still seem to hate despite seemingly huge adoption. Search is better, the app seems faster overall, and again, the price is now 100% better. The biggest complaint people seem to have is about the new icon. But I, for one, kind of like it. It makes a lot more sense from a branding perspective than the old chat bubble.
Perhaps Apple giving Twitter the App of the Week was to make up for their odd half-roll out of the app a few days ago. The app was showing up in users’ app update area, but you couldn’t click on it for over a day. Or maybe they just love the app. Either way, it’s going to get a ton of downloads. It already is.
As a somewhat related side note, Apple is also featuring Square as the iPad App of the Week. Square is the mobile payment company started by Twitter creator and chairman Jack Dorsey. Apple is also featuring Square on the iPhone side of the store, as well. Now we just need a version of Twitter for the iPad so Apple can feature that too — and to make me happy.