Bottom line: I haven’t found one yet, but Tweetbot is close. I use Twitter often, but I rarely tweet. For me, Twitter is primarily a source for news and entertainment, so it is important to me that a Twitter client provides a great reading experience.
I currently use Tweetbot on the iPhone and Twitterrific on the iPad and Mac. Tweetbot is my preferred client, and it is almost perfect for me. What sets Tweetbot apart for me is that you can configure it to automatically open links in Instapaper Mobilizer and it has an intelligent replies view. Instapaper Mobilizer is a must-have feature for me on the iPhone because mobilized pages load significantly faster than standard Web pages. While other Twitter clients also let you easily view replies to tweets, Tweetbot works better than the rest at isolating only the relevant replies to the original tweet as opposed to all replies to the author, which is how Twitterrific works.
I can live without Instapaper Mobilizer on the iPad because I use my iPad only on wifi, so non-mobilized Web pages load quickly, but I wish that Tapbots would either create a native version of Tweetbot for the iPad or Iconfactory would adopt the intelligent replies view that Tapbots uses.
Tweetbot is almost perfect for me, but it has an Achilles heel. The Tweet Marker service doesn’t work consistently, especially over 3G. In contrast, Twitterrific reliably handles the Tweet Marker service in all versions (iPhone, iPad, and Mac). Still, I find it difficult to dump Tweetbot on the iPhone because I would have to give up some of my other favorite features.
I was initially excited when Twitter released a new version of its official mobile app. The new version of the official client has a nice interface, and it now has a much better replies view. Unfortunately though, it still does not support Tweet Marker, which is a deal-breaker for me because I frequently alternate between different devices.
So what would it take to make my perfect Twitter app? Not much, really. Tweetbot could make the Tweet Marker service more reliable (again, I think the issue is on Tapbot’s side because the Tweet Marker service is very reliable in Twitterrific), Twitterrific could add support for Instapaper Mobilizer, or the official Twitter app could add support for Tweet Marker. Each of these service is close. For me, it’s just a matter of which one fills its gap first.