Until an official Facebook app reveals itself on the iPad and location-based services like foursquare and Gowalla make Apple's tablet their next destination, Twitter apps will dominate the Social Networking category on the iPad. And for good reason.
Given that the iPad is a hybrid computing device that users can easily tap into around the house or take with them wherever they go, the significant segments of Twitter users who primarily share their 140-character thoughts on either their computers or their phones are less restricted.
Now that we have established why the iPad is a great tweeting device, let's highlight the best Twitter clients among the scores of options already available in the iTunes App Store.
TweetDeck shines on the iPad
While TweetDeck is my laptop Twitter client of choice, I am not a big fan of the iPhone edition. In addition to some inconsistencies, the smaller screen on the iPhone takes away TweetDeck's most important feature - the ability to simultaneously twitter activity from people you follow as well as Mentions and Direct Messages from everyone. The free TweetDeck for iPad app, particularly in landscape mode on the wider screen, has all the elements (and reliability) I look for in the PC version. Landscape mode has three columns for All Friends, Mentions, and Direct Messages. Portrait mode is restricted to All Friends and Mentions.
If you are OK with ponying up $4.99 for a Twitter client on any medium and want to see a professionally done approach to the iPad, download Twittelator Pad. While visually it is superior to Tweet Deck and the others out there, for my money, it's not in a different league than any of the other free or cheaper alternatives out there. Other solid alternatives are Twitterrific for iPad (very much like its iPhone sibling) and Tweet a Tweet, which will run you 99 cents and could be the fastest of the bunch.
Texting and Instant Messaging
For IM chatting and SMS messaging on the iPad, the incumbent leaders also rule on the new device. As the iPad does not allow phone or built-in text messaging capabilities, you will need to download a third-party app to send and receive messages. textPLUS is reconfigured for the iPad provides free and unlimited text messaging on the iPad, and lets you communicate with friends and contacts on any other type of phone or app-enabled device.
For instant messaging, AIM for iPad, which is free, has the best interface and is the best options for users of the pioneering service. If you primarily instant message via Gmail, Facebook or Livejournal, Jabba at $2.99 is your best option.
Find the app you're looking for
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