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Tweetbot for Mac: born to die, but far from dead on arrival

Tweetbot for Mac: born to die, but far from dead on arrival

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Just days after launching Netbot for iOS, a client for the new social network, Tapbots is today launching Tweetbot for Mac for $19.99 in the Mac App Store. Tweetbot for Mac is everything we've come to expect from Tapbots: a charming, intuitive, feature-rich, and most importantly super-fast Twitter experience. It perfectly fills the hole left by Twitter for Mac, which is still operational but has grown decrepit and wonky after being abandoned by Twitter.

But there's more to the story. Tweetbot for Mac is for all intents and purposes the first major release of a Twitter app after the company made clear that it was showing third-party clients the door. Third party Twitter apps never constituted a large part of the site's traffic, and that trend continues downward. Like other Twitter apps, Tweetbot for Mac does not have access to the company's new profile headers, Interactions tab, Promoted Tweets, and any new features the company launches. According to Twitter's rules, the app's "token" allotment will be capped, which means Tapbots can only sell a limited number of copies of Tweetbot for Mac. Since the app entered an Alpha testing period and acquired users before Twitter's cap was initiated, it'll likely have between 100,000 and 200,000 tokens to spare.

"Once we use up the tokens granted to us by Twitter, we will no longer be able to sell the app to new users."

"Once we use up the tokens granted to us by Twitter, we will no longer be able to sell the app to new users," Tapbots developer Paul Haddad told The Verge. "Note, however, that Tapbots will continue to support Tweetbot for Mac for existing customers at that time," he added. This limit factors in to Tweetbot's hefty asking price, though many other Mac apps (like Things, OmniFocus, or Fantastical sell for upwards of $19.99). "We think $20 for an app that we've provided over a year's worth of free updates is a very good deal," Fantastical co-founder Michael Simmons once told me — but Fantastical has been Simmons' only gig. Tapbots, the power duo of designer Mark Jardine and Haddad, has had to support Tweetbot for iPhone and iPad, and now Netbot for iPhone and iPad as well.

Tapbot's apps have never been cheap, but they've always been excellent, and Tweetbot for Mac is worth your money if you consider yourself a frequent Twitter user. The app offers multiple columns, inline photos, useful keyboard shortcuts, a brilliant menu bar implementation, streaming tweets (no refreshing ever!), read later app integration, settings galore, and my personal favorite: gestures to swipe in and out of tweet conversations. It's everything you loved about Twitter for Mac, plus a lot more.

The average tweeter might be overwhelmed by the app's price, and the amount of customization options and tools (like Mute) that it offers, but Tweetbot for Mac isn't for the average tweeter. It's for those of us who understand Tapbots' noble goal: to add useful features to a service that seems more focused on monetization than utility. And so, Tweetbot for Mac, as wonderful as it is, shares the fate of all third party Twitter apps that launch henceforth: it's born to die. But Tapbots understands that, and it's going ahead anyway, because most of all, Tweetbot for Mac is the app its founders want to use every day.