If you tweet from your iPhone, get ready for big changes. Twitter's official iOS app is about to get a meaty upgrade, judging by screen shots leaked from the App Store. Twitter 4.3 for iPhone is expected to deliver deeper interactivity, improvements to search and more granular push notification settings, among other things.
Embedded Media and Content Previews
One of the most noticeable enhancements will affect the way tweets are displayed within the app. Tweets containing links to pages from partner websites will include content previews.
Meanwhile, images and video will be embedded directly into tweets, as on Twitter.com. This allows for simplified viewing, which is even more important on mobile devices than it is on the desktop-sized Web.
Twitter 4.3 for iPhone will improve user notifications. First, it will display "ambient notifications" of activity that happens in the background while you're using the app. The Discover tab will also provide a visual cue when new tweets have been posted and are ready to view.
Both features borrow from existing third-party Twitter clients, the future of which has been called into question in light of the company's declaration that it intends to assert more control over how its API is used.
Another change to how users are notified of tweets will come in the form of more user-specific push notifications. More granular settings will allow users to limit the incessant buzz of notifications and trigger an alert only for tweets from people the user deems most important.
Curated Events, Personalized Trends and More
The new app will also highlight special events, around which Twitter will curate tweets and related media. Presumably this will include items including major news stories and new episodes of popular television shows. These are the things people already turn to Twitter for, creating a noisy stream. This feature attempts to filter things down to the most relevant, important content for mobile users.
Other features include personalized trending topics, search autocomplete improvements, and a host of performance and stability fixes.
A Sign of Things to Come?
News of the impending update comes at a time of heightened anxiety among third-party developers who have built Twitter clients or otherwise take advantage of Twitter data, which is expected to be more restricted in the future. Some fear that the maturing of Twitter's business model will require it to back away from being an open platform in favor of erecting a walled garden like Facebook.
In this update, a few features are being borrowed from third-party clients as Twitter makes good on its promise to provide "a consistent set of products and tools" for using the service. It's a noble concept, but some developers fear it may mean ominous things for the features of tools built by third parties.
The leak occured thanks to a bug in App Store on iOS 6, so a release date for the upgrade is unknown.