Unlike Twitter’s February 2018 decision to discontinue its official macOS app, which had excellent third-party alternatives, the service’s September 2017 cancellation of its Apple Watch app left users with few options. Now developer Will Bishop is bringing Twitter back to the Watch with the release of Chirp, a freemium app that offers wrist access to Twitter’s timeline while adding “Pro” posting and searching privileges for a fee.
Compared with the well-established Tweetbot, an iOS-focused app that lets users view specific tweets on the Apple Watch, Chirp enables you to see your whole Twitter timeline on the Watch. Tapping on Home shows you the timeline for your preferred account, complete with in-line images and tappable Twitter usernames. URLs are displayed but non-functional, something that could conceivably be remedied, given the upcoming watchOS 5’s addition of basic web viewing functionality.
Chirp also includes buttons to access trends, mentions, likes, and your profile, as well as a search feature. The latter function is locked unless you pay for Pro access, which is interestingly offered with a pay-as-you-want sliding scale: Any payment from $1.99 to $4.99 will add search, tweet posting, replying, and the ability to view more than five trends. A separate tipping jar screen lets satisfied users contribute between $0.99 and $12.99 to support the developer.
Chirp is particularly interesting in that it focuses so heavily on getting Apple Watch functionality right while doing the barest minimum on the iPhone side — the exact inverse of most third-party Twitter apps. The iPhone portion of the app has virtually no user-facing functionality, aside from taking payments and offering support options. But the Watch side is robust, and though limited in speed by Apple’s chip decisions, otherwise impressive. It’s available now from the iOS App Store.