If you’re an iPhone or iPad user and have upgraded to iOS 7, you’ve probably noticed that there’ve been a LOT of updates lately. Actually thanks to background updates, you probably didn’t notice but, trust me, there have been. Many apps have touted the fact that they’ve been “fully redesigned” or “designed from the ground up” with iOS 7 in mind. It’s been great. It’s provided the user with a seamless experience across multiple apps and, as usual, it’s free… unless you’re using Tweetbot.

While all the other apps have provided an update, Tweetbot launched Tweetbot 3. This is kind of unprecedented in the world of iOS software. They seem to have taken a page from traditional software where you launch a new version and you charge the customer for it. Not surprisingly, people are not overly pleased.

Now, I love Tweetbot and I’ll start with telling you why. First, I run multiple Twitter accounts and I find it a very easy interface to do so with. Secondly, I use mute filters extensively. When people ask me what I need mute filters for, I say “Tim Bouquet”. Now, let me explain. I heart Tim Bouquet. BUT, then there is city council day. Now, if I had more free time, I would find this day hilarious. Somebody throws a cat, somebody speaks pig latin. It’s hilarious. BUT, most days I don’t have time to listen to Tim’s “live-tweet” how the inside of his head works. So, when I start to see my timeline fill up with Tim’s name, I tap on settings and mute him for a day. I’m currently muting Neil Patrick Harris “forever” because I don’t want him to ruin How I Met Your Mother for me.

So, for me, Tweetbot is the app of choice. And because I’m one of those people that really loves the newest things ( I qualify as an early adopter) I decided to shell out the $1.99 that they’re currently charging for it. So, what’s the verdict? Well, the app is nice. But aside from some graphical changes, I’m really seeing nothing in the way of new stuff. I LIKE the new interface and I find it easier to use but that’s about it. Maybe there are some features that I’m not seeing yet, but I doubt it. Instead, I think Tweetbot pulled a fast one over on us.

Further, when I tried to install it on my iPad, it’s a resident iPhone app which means it looks awful and I can’t use the app in landscape. I’m not worried about throwing away $1.99. I’ve invested more with worse results. I’m not worried about the iPad thing. They’ll release an update or a new version, I’m sure. I’m worried about what this says for the future of iOS apps. It sets a very bad precedent that “updates” can and should be monetized. Other apps have made much more fundamental changes to their apps in updates without charging a cent. I’m almost surprised that Apple doesn’t have some sort of policy in place to stop this. Most people, I’m sure, will bring up that Apple stands to make more money on it this way but Apple does not tend to think about small fish in little barrels like this (see OSX Mavericks).

In any case, shame on you Tweetbot. When I come across a client I prefer, I will be switching. And I will be looking. I’ve been promoting your product now in all my sessions, even for single account users. This looks, to me, like a money grab. You have lost a customer and a champion for your product. I’m sure I’m not the only one.

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