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Twitter Updates iPhone, iPad App

The software simplifies access to photos, links, and communications tools, although some Apple iOS users don't like the new Quick Bar feature.

Twitter on Thursday updated its popular iOS app, adding features designed to simplify the way in which users access photos, links, and communication tools.

The microblogging site's Twitter for iPhone app is the third-most popular vehicle to access Twitter, after Twitter.com and mobile.twitter.com, said Carolyn Penner, of Twitter's communications department, in a company blog. All but one of the new tools are available to both iPhone and iPad users.

The new Quick Bar, which lets users view trends at the top of their timeline, currently is solely accessible to iPhone users, said Penner. Users also can swipe the Quick Bar to the left or right to see additional trends, she added. Quick Bar includes Promoted Tweets, one source of Twitter revenue -- and the source of some backlash among online critics.

"Most of this is awesome, but I'd really like to be able to turn that quick bar off. If I want to see trends, I look for them. It is distracting when I'm just trying to read the tweets. The on/off option would be fabulous," wrote Samantha Watkins on Twitter's Facebook fan page, Friday morning.

Not surprisingly, more users turned to Twitter itself to voice their dissatisfaction with Quick Bar.

"Ironically, I checked if it was trending and it seems I'm not alone in hating the Quick Bar," tweeted Jonathan Hazlett, aka JHazlett89, earlier today.

Added Andrew Gormley, who tweets as darkdriving: "How long until @twitter removes the 'Quick Bar?' I haven't heard a single positive thing about it."

In fact, people with a jailbroken iPhone or iPod Touch can remove Quick Bar using Twizzler by Cydia, many tweets said.

Every other new feature is available to all users of Apple mobile devices. The latest update includes a new photo-uploading capability that includes a camera button on the toolbar, as well as an enhanced image preview that lets users choose a picture from their library or take a new picture. In addition, users can see trends based on their location, and follow their friends.

"Now you can find which of your friends are on Twitter that have chosen to be discoverable through the contacts on your phone," said Penner. "We redesigned the 'New Tweet' screen so it's now cleaner and simpler. When tweeting on-the-go, speed and accuracy are important. Autocomplete for @usernames and hashtags help you tweet faster."

Twitter also included an automated link-shortening feature, such as those offered by third-party sites such as bit.ly. Now users paste the URL into the Tweet box, and the software automatically shortens it, said Penner.

The developer addressed messaging, with a retooled direct message conversation view designed to allow users to keep better track of messages, she noted.

Users can download Twitter from the iTunes App Store or directly from Twitter.

The company, which had been rumored to file for an initial public offering sometime this year, will remain privately held, Biz Stone told Reuters on Thursday, at a business conference in Seoul, Korea. Twitter also is not seeking additional funding because it is making money, he said.

"We make money. We earn money from a suite of products. We have promoted tweets... promoted accounts, all of which are in our advertising mechanism," Stone told Reuters. "We are just really getting started. We have some internal forecasts (for advertising revenue for 2011), but nothing is really shared right now. We don’t need to set the world record or anything like that."

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