Tweetbot For Mac Alpha Brings The Tapbots Charm With Plenty Of Potential [First Look]


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The guys at Tapbots released the highly anticipated Tweetbot for Mac today with a catch. The app is available for free, but it’s in alpha form. This means that the developers are still working furiously to iron out the kinks and create the complete, public version. But for now, those who feel so inclined can download Tweetbot for Mac 0.6 and give it a go.

I’ve been playing around with the app, and for an alpha release, Tweetbot for Mac is very good. The app has already become my default Twitter client on the Mac for a few reasons.

Familiar Charm

Tweebot has already been my default Twitter client on the iPhone and iPad for months and months, and jumping over to the Mac version is very easy. The color schemes and general look have been carried over from iOS, and yet Tweetbot for Mac has its own distinctive charm.

The app’s sidebar is broken up into the sections you’d expect: timeline, mentions, direct messages, favorites, search, profile, lists, retweets, and mute filters. The ability to mute a specific Twitter account is one of Tweetbot’s staple features on iOS, so it’s nice to see the feature brought to the desktop—here’s to hoping Twitter doesn’t start cracking down on innovative features like this one.

Twitter’s streaming API is used to ensure that you never have to manually refresh your timeline. The contextual menus, in-app media viewer, list implementation, and general workflow are all inspired from the iOS version. As I mentioned earlier, you’ll feel right at home.

Tweetbot for Mac’s preferences pack enough customization, although the options are a tad barebones. This isn’t something to complain about right now, however, due to the fact that the app is merely in the alpha stage. The ability to use services like CloudApp for sharing files and Pocket for saving links is invaluable.

Retina Goodness

I’ve been testing multiple third-party Twitter clients since I got my 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display, and the Retina graphics in Tweetbot for Mac are a breath of fresh air. The official Twitter for Mac app (which is currently non-Retina) is practically unusable on my MacBook Pro, and I’d been growing tired of the app even before I ditched my older Mac last month.

Twitterrific for Mac has been my main client while I’ve been waiting for Tweetbot. The workflow and UI design in Tweetbot is more akin to my tastes, so Twitterrific is taking a backseat.

It’s really impossible to stress how important Retina graphics are for an app running on the new MacBook Pro. You’re doing your users a disservice if you don’t design (or rigorously update) your apps with the future of Apple’s product roadmap in line. And the future is clearly Retinized.

It Can Only Get Better

Tweetbot designer Mark Jardine on the Tapbots blog today:

Developing for the Mac is no easy task, especially a full-featured Twitter client. However, we’ve gotten to a point where while not complete, it is useable. We’ve decided to release it as a public alpha to a) motivate us to finish faster, and b) get feedback to help us build the best Mac incarnation of Tweetbot we can make. You can love it or hate it, but rest assured it will only get much much better from here.

Keep the above paragraph in mind when you download Tweetbot for Mac. It is not a finished product. Don’t treat it like a finished product. There are bugs, missing features, and no iCloud/Mountain Lion Notification Center support. I’ve already noticed that the ‘gear’ button in the bottom right corner for quick access to settings doesn’t work, and you can’t edit your Twitter profile in-app yet.

The good news is that Tweetbot for Mac can only get better from this point. Updates will be pushed automatically out to alpha testers, and version 1.0 will be available for an unknown price in the Mac App Store eventually. Please send crash and bug reports via the “Send Feedback” option in the app’s Help menu. You can help make this app better.

The Tweetbot for Mac alpha is available for free on the Tapbots website. Start using it and watch the app evolve.

Don’t miss our video hands-on of Tweetbot for Mac!