Why Doesn't Twitter Have a Top 10 iPhone or iPad App?

This week, Apple released lists of the most-downloaded apps for the iPhone and iPad. Most of the results were not surprising, but Twitter was conspicuously absent from the top of the lists. Of course, Facebook stole the top slot for the top free iPhone apps — which is what I would consider the most prestigious category — but why couldn’t Twitter give them a run for their money and even break into the top 10?

Twitter had an explosive year last year, overtaking MySpace and becoming the No. 3 social networking site. You would think that Twitter would have an app that was just as statistically aggressive. But instead, even the Paper Toss game, listed as the No. 10 most downloaded app for the iPhone, has more of a presence in the rankings than Twitter.

It’s not that there aren’t enough Twitter apps and platforms out there. A simple search on iTunes will turn up Twitter, TwitBird, Echofon, Twittelator, Twittereena, HootSuite, Twitterific, TweetPad, and more. And that’s not even counting all of the “Pro” versions. Maybe this is just because it’s so much fun to come up with variations on the word “Twitter,” but it seems that if there were one really awesome Twitter app, there wouldn’t be so many clients available for download.

I would guess that Facebook has a more popular app because it lends itself well to the mobile aspect of an iPhone. Despite Twitter’s popularity, people get actively excited to “check their Facebook” in a way that doesn’t seem to happen for Twitter. And despite the punchiness of the new Twitter, with its emphasis on photo and video content, Twitter in general just isn’t as visual as Facebook. This fact is particularly relevant for the iPad — which is a great host for visually interesting and dynamic platforms. That definitely accounts for why two of the top 10 free iPad apps are movie apps (Movies by Flixter and Fandango) and why GoogleEarth (stunning shots of the world, anyone?) took the No. 4 slot in that category.

What would make a Twitter app more appealing for you?