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Tweetbot arrives in Mac App Store, with higher price than its developers prefer

Tapbots on Thursday released Tweetbot for Mac in the Mac App Store, though at a price higher than the company had initially intended to charge. The company says the app's $20 fee comes due to Twitter's increasing limitations on third-party apps.

Twitter's new restrictions have left third-party app developers scrambling to figure out how to sustain their businesses. Among the limitations is a hard cap on how many users third-party apps can support; the base limit is 100,000 users, but that number goes higher for apps that had already exceeded 100,000 users by the time Twitter implemented the cap. Back in August, Tapbots pulled the Tweetbot beta to avoid filling up too many of its allotted tokens with free users. The company says that Tweetbot for Mac's limit is at least double the 100,000 default cap, but hasn't gotten more specific than that.

"We specifically picked this [$20] price point so that we could continue to support the app even if we run out of tokens," Tapbots's Paul Haddad told Macworld.

Haddad says that the token cap and other API restrictions didn't discourage the company from finishing up Tweetbot for Mac. "If anything," he said, "it pushed us to get it released even faster." He did indicate that his company has asked Twitter to raise the token cap for Tweetbot for Mac. "The answer so far is 'no,'" he said.

Tweetbot for Mac faithfully recreates the experience of Tweetbot's hugely popular apps for iPhone and iPad. The interface duplicates much of what characterizes the app on iOS--down to the robot-inspired sound effects, tap-and-hold shortcuts, and deep integrations with numerous third-party services including Instapaper, Tweet Marker, and TwitPic.

But despite its feature-richness--and the beloved status of the iOS versions of the app--Haddad indicated that Tapbots felt forced into pricing the app higher than it wanted. "We'd obviously like to be able to sell [Tweetbot for Mac] to as many people as people want, but given the limits that Twitter is imposing on us, we picked a higher price to support continued development."

Tapbots released Netbot for iPad and iPhone earlier this month. That app, which uses the App.net social network, otherwise behaves nearly identically to Tweetbot. But Haddad didn't comment on whether a Netbot app for Mac is forthcoming: "We haven't announced anything yet and are focusing on getting Tweetbot for Mac out this week."

Tweetbot for Mac requires Mac OS X 10.7.4 or later.


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