The big Twitter news currently may be the expansion of tweets to support 280 characters instead of just 140, but a number of Twitter users recently spotted another notable change, as well: the Twitter Apple Watch app has disappeared. The app’s iTunes App Store page no longer notes compatibility with the Apple Watch, and users who have updated to the latest versions of iOS and watchOS note the Twitter Watch app is no longer available on their smartwatch.
Specifically, with the rollout of the Twitter for iOS (version 7.8) iOS app, the Apple Watch app was removed, we understand.
Twitter would not be the first major tech company to stop supporting the Apple Watch via a native app. Several major app makers, including Google, have abandoned Apple’s smartwatch platform in recent months. For example, Google pulled support for Google Maps on the Apple Watch earlier this year, and retailers including Amazon and eBay did the same.
The challenge for these watch apps in some cases has to do with the fact that a smartwatch is not necessarily the ideal platform for traditional mobile app use – like shopping, for example. But with Google, it was likely also too difficult to compete with the better-integrated Apple Maps app that’s designed to work with Apple’s wearable.
But those removals went largely unnoticed, which indicated that perhaps these apps weren’t as heavily used as the companies had hoped when the Apple Watch app store first launched.
Twitter’s removal from Apple Watch, however, isn’t exactly flying under the radar.
It seems that at least some Apple Watch owners appreciated the ability to check their feed and reply from their Watch’s interface. Many are expressing their concerns and complaints about the app’s removal, too – on Twitter itself, naturally. (And in less than 280 characters!)
Unlike shopping apps or other social apps, like Facebook or Instagram, Twitter’s network has a sense of immediacy which makes it a better fit for a platform that’s about urgency of notifications – that is, those that are worth the interruption.
Plus, Twitter’s iOS app allowed you to make granular adjustments to the types of notifications you receive, so getting pushes on your Apple Watch didn’t become overwhelming or feel spammy. And, the app would not push notifications to both your Watch and iPhone at the same time – it would choose to send them to the platform you’re currently using.
However, we understand that all is not lost for Twitter users who are Apple Watch owners as a part of this change – in fact, the notifications experience should be improved. While the removal of the Apple Watch app removes the ability to browse Twitter from the Watch, notifications will actually have more context than before.
That’s because they’re now mirroring the iPhone notifications. That means you’ll see who sent a reply or DM and what it said, and can then respond.
Twitter would not comment directly on the app’s removal, but offered a statement about notifications that hints at its shift in focus to mirroring over the use of a native app.
“We heard from people that notifications were the most helpful part of the Apple Watch Twitter experience. With this, we are focusing on supporting more robust, media-rich notifications. We are committed to providing the very best Twitter experience on iPhone, iPad, Apple TV and Apple Watch, and we’ll continue to iterate and improve our apps across all platforms,” said Dan Jackson, a Twitter spokesperson.
Image credit: Twitter app screens/descriptions, via WatchAware