TweetBot, the hugely popular iOS Twitter client, finally comes in a finished desktop version available in the Mac App Store for $20.99. No joke. It appears to be a nicely polished piece of software with some smart features, with some smart features, but is there any way to justify that price when you can just use Twitter’s app for free?
Tweetbot is designed for the hardcore Twitter users who use lots of different lists and want to be able to quickly navigate through them. In other words, it’s a full-featured Tweetdeck. We’re especially fond of the filtering options built into Tweetbot, which allow you to mute users, hashtags, and keywords. You can also turn retweets from other users on and off.
For the most part, though, you’re paying for the app’s polished interface that’s easy-on-the-eyes and has lightning-quick navigation. But mostly you’re paying for Twitter’s new limitations on third-party clients. Did we mention it costs 20 freaking dollars?
You see, the app’s developer, Tapbots, doesn’t really want to charge you $US20 for Tweetbots, but the company says it has no choice. Under Twitter’s new API guidelines, third-party apps are allowed only a limited number of API tokens after which they can’t add more users.
So the price tag is a way of both making up for lost cash and mitigating demand. Of the latter, the price is one way of keeping TweetBot under its API limit. Which is to say, only the most devoted (or wealthy) TweetBot adherents are going to get to use it.
From another perspective, though, it’s the only kind of business Tapbots could run under Twitter’s new guidelines. In order for Tapbots to make enough money to provide support for TweetBot into the future, it’s got to make a big chunk of cash front. That seems like a risky proposition for users. What happens when Tapbots doesn’t feel like providing support any more?