Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

Tweetbot for Mac

Screenshot of Tweetbot for MacVersion 1.0 of Tweetbot for Mac is now out on the Mac App Store. It’s been in development for some time, with a public alpha release in July which I reviewed at the time. The features are pretty much the same as in the alpha, albeit in a complete and working state. The only new feature is iCloud sync, which synchronises your settings between all devices with Tweetbot installed – other Macs, iPhones and iPads.

The sticking point for some people is the cost. The alpha and beta test builds were free (but will expire soon), and the iOS apps cost £1.99. We knew that the Mac app would cost money and this would probably be similar in price to the iOS apps. But it isn’t.

Tweetbot for Mac costs £13.99, or $19.99 in the US – seven times more than the iOS apps, even though both have essentially the same feature set. That’s quite a big increase.

In a blog post, Tapbots, the developers of Tweetbot, justify the price:

  • For many years, apps cost around $20 to buy – it’s only been in the past three to four years that prices of apps have fallen.
  • Twitter has only allowed a limited number of API tokens for apps (see my blog post about its API changes), which means that the number of people who can use Twitter is restricted; once all the tokens have been used up, no-one else will be able to add an account to Tweetbot, unless Twitter release some more. This could result in the undesirable situation whereby people buy the app, and then are unable to use it. Therefore, the high price should reduce demand.
  • It’s taken Tapbots around a year to develop Tweetbot for Mac, and is their first major OS X app.

The pricing does underline the problem with Twitter’s new API changes. Twitter has said that third parties should not be developing Twitter clients, and put its words into action by limiting the number of available tokens to developers, but has then seemingly abandoned its own OS X app. Another third party developer, Naan Studio, is phasing out its desktop editions of Echofon as well.

Despite the high price, I decided to buy it. I’ve really liked the test builds and the iCloud sync feature is great for keeping settings in sync between my iPhone and Mac desktop. It is more than I’d like to pay, and other desktop clients like Twitterific and Osfoora (which I owned and reviewed earlier this year) are cheaper, but to me Tweetbot is best in class.

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