One of the things I've noticed in the emerging wave of iPhone applications is that many of the highest rated applications could be found on the App Store's illegitimate precursor--Nullriver's application installer. Several of these applications have been under almost constant development for the greater part of a year, long before Apple made the SDK available. In the case of newcomer Twinkle, that extra time really shows.
You might remember our hands-on with Twinkle back in April. Its claim to fame is that it mixes in location-based services with Twitter, not only letting you tweet with your location to show to others, but also see what users around you are up to within various location radii. Other Twitter apps on the iPhone have location as well, but none add this extra level of exploration. One of the perks of legitimacy is that there are more people using this than before, making it beneficial as long as you live in a place with high iPhone saturation.
Location isn't the only improvement though, the application now has far more user-friendly error handling. Whether you've got a bad connection or Twitter is down, it'll let you know with grace (this weekend's S3 outages and Twitter downtime didn't help). It's even got an amusing whale tail in reference to Twitter's now infamous icon of service failure.
The legitimate iPhone version also adds in a new profile feature that is quite cunning. Tapulous, the creators of Twinkle as well as Tap Tap Revolution (also formerly a jailbroken iPhone app), have created a universal profile system that goes across all of its applications. This means if you've registered in one program, it will port over your credentials to the other.
In the case of Twinkle, this new profile system ends up being a little confusing because sorting through tweets from those around you presents your Tapulous account information, while regular Tweets just link off to your Twitter account with that specific profile picture.
All in all, Twinkle has retained much of its original spirit with this new iteration. Over the weekend Tapulous sponsored a scavenger hunt to take advantage of the application's photo-sharing feature. More things like that are likely to attract newbies of both Twitter and the iPhone. Below is a quick demo of it in action.
Twinkle Demo from Josh Lowensohn on Vimeo.