Twitter’s New Desktop App for the Mac: A Disappointment

This morning, with the launch of the Mac App Store, Twitter also launched its new desktop app for the Mac. While the app is pretty, it’s missing too many essential features that serious Twitter users have become accustomed to. It also doesn’t keep up with the high standards that the official Twitter for iPhone and iPad apps have set over the last few months.

Don’t get me wrong, Twitter for Mac is a decent, lightweight client for those who only follow their closest friends and family members (and maybe a few celebrities), but it’s no replacement for clients like TweetDeck, HootSuite or Seesmic.


The Bad:

Here are a few examples of what I didn’t like about the app:
[list type=”red”]

  • What makes the Twitter for iPad app so great is that links open up in a third pane and don’t take you away from the app. Twitter for Mac does away with this. Clicking on a tweet in your timeline does absolutely nothing and clicking on links brings up your browser.
  • The app has amnesia. The moment you click away from the lists view, it will forget what list you were looking at before and you’ll have to click through to that list again.
  • Same thing for searches. Do a search and click away from it to see your direct messages, for example, and the app will have no recollection of what you just searched for when you click on the search button again. Annoying.
  • No button to start a new tweet? You have to either use the keyboard shortcut (and one of the nicest features is that the app allows you to set a global hotkey for new tweets) or click through the menu at the bottom of the screen to start a new tweet.
  • If there is a conversations view, it’s hidden away. I haven’t found it yet.
  • No support for third-party URL-shorteners? Seriously?
  • Clicking on a person’s avatar bring up a timeline, not the person’s profile.
  • I know I’m nitpicking now, but this is quite annoying as well: the minimalist interface makes it hard to drag the app across the screen. You have to find a spot on the sidebar to actually move the app around.
  • [/list]

    The OK:

    Not all is bad, of course. The app is lightweight, fast and new tweets happily scroll across your screen in real time. A global hotkey for sending new tweets is a nice feature as well. So is support for multiple accounts, which the app also handles quite nicely.

    Over on TechCrunch, Erick Schonfeld calls the app a “half-hearted attempt” – an apt description. For now, you won’t miss much if you stay away from it.