Yahoo Weather, winner of an Apple Design Award at WWDC ’13, has been updated today to version 1.5, which adds a native interface for the iPad, making the app Universal. I was a fan of the app before, and it’s good to see Yahoo releasing it on the iPad — a platform that Apple doesn’t think deserves its own built-in Weather app.

The iPad version is nothing revolutionary as it uses the same Flickr-powered photographic approach seen on the iPhone, making interface elements bigger and more spaced out. There are, however, some fun new transitions when scrolling through weather information on the iPad — such as columns of text sliding in from the sides of the screen and animated raindrop icons — that make the experience more fun on the iPad. These animations haven’t been enabled on the iPhone, likely due to screen constraints.

Yahoo Weather is free on the App Store.

Weather Notifications

Weather Notifications, developed by Taco23, is a simple utility to get a daily notification with a weather summary on your iPhone. It’s not a weather app in the sense that it lets you browse forecasts, temperatures, or other weather data in a traditional way; instead, Weather Notifications is, as the name implies, a notification tool powered by Forecast.io.

Weather Notifications is, essentially, a Settings screen where you can configure the notifications you want to receive every day for your location. Alerts can be set to fire off at five different times: afternoon before, night before, morning, afternoon, or evening. You can only pick one, and, unfortunately, you’re also forced to pick one location; you can’t tell Weather Notifications to send you a notification the day before for Location A and in the morning for Location B. I set Weather Notifications to send me alerts for Rome the night before, so I’ll have an idea of the weather I’ll wake up to in the morning.

You can choose to receive a daily summary or condition-specific alerts for rain, snow, and fog. There are temperature, wind, and humidity thresholds that you can also optionally configure, but I’ve been enjoying the daily summary, which gives me a succinct recap of weather conditions for the following day.

And that’s it. Weather Notifications isn’t available on the iPad and it could use customizable alert sounds and support for multiple locations; Forecast.io’s accuracy may vary for your area, but it’s been fairly reliable for me in Italy.

Weather Notifications is $1.99 on the App Store.

Oct
16
2013

Weather Line Review

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Weather Line

I am not a weather nerd. I don’t commute to work[1] and I don’t need to know the percentage of precipitation and humidity for the next three weeks. I spend most of my days in Viterbo and Rome, where the weather isn’t particularly crazy; I never get to try the fancy weather apps with Dark Sky integration and “radars” because those features don’t work here. You may argue that I’m forced to be a casual user of weather apps; I honestly believe that I don’t need to know everything about the weather to have a good day. I don’t travel much, and therefore I rarely need to plan my trips according to weather conditions. I enjoy simple weather apps like Today, Yahoo Weather, and even Apple’s built-in Weather app for iOS 7 because they display all the data I need without overwhelming me with terminology I don’t understand.

This is why I was curious to try Ryan Jones’ Weather Line when he emailed me a few weeks back. His pitch was simple: “I had this idea for a weather app, and I’m great at making charts”. Sure enough, I remembered Jones’ work on the iPad mini “price umbrella” chart from last year, and he seemed confident enough in his app to convince me to try it. Weather Line is available today at $2.99 on the App Store, it’s iPhone-only, and it is one of the nicest and most unique weather apps I’ve tried lately. (more…)

Today, Dark Sky 3.0 has been released with much anticipation since the release of their own forecasting API / website forecast.io with incredibly accurate weather prediction packaged with an elegant, simple user experience.

Version 3.0 is now powered by the Forecast API and support for the UK and Ireland is now available. Gone are the brief text summaries which have been replaced by ‘intelligent’ ones that are more detailed with current conditions, next hour, and the rest of the day. They also include more than just precipitation, which is a big addition I have been waiting for.

Another new feature to Dark Sky 3.0 is the ‘Personal Weather Reporter’: any user can submit their own current conditions with a simple shake of the iPhone and then selecting conditions. You can even include a weather photo with your submission as well. The radar screen is still the same with the exception of a new magnifying glass icon in the upper left. I don’t plan on dumping the forecast.io web app or my other favorite, Today (which also uses the forecast.io API), but now that Dark Sky is more than just precipitation, I will use it for more than just alerts. It is awkward that notifications are still considered “beta”, but the Dark Sky team is still actively making changes to them.

The Dark Sky team has done a really great job with this update (and in the last few months) and they have proved their dedication to this genre of apps. Be sure to check out their other web app, Lines. Dark Sky 3.0 is $3.99 or a free update for existing users. The app is universal and available now on the App Store.

Horizon

Back in February, I covered Horizon Calendar, an app developed by Kyle Rosenbluth that cleverly combined the classic aspects of a calendar with basic weather information:

The core aspect of Horizon is how it mixes weather with event information. When creating a new event, the app uses Google location data (which I found to be the best provider here in Italy) to show a list of suggestions in a bar above the keyboard; once you’ve chosen a location, Horizon will fetch a weather forecast (up to 14 days out). The app was created for people who deal with appointments in multiple locations on a daily basis: by entering a single day’s view, you’ll see a list of all your upcoming events alongside their respective locations and weather forecasts.

Horizon Calendar 2.0, released today, is a solid update that adds powerful functionality without sacrificing the app's usability and ease of use. Following a trend established by apps like Fantastical and Due, Horizon now comes with natural language parsing for event creation: type something like “Skype call on Monday 5 PM until 7” and Horizon will correctly understand and parse your input automatically filling the necessary calendar fields for you.1

(more…)

Sun: iPhone Weather Web App

Sun is an impressive weather web app for the iPhone created by Jakob Henner. I don’t normally cover web apps on MacStories, but Sun almost feels like a native app and sports a clean and elegant interface reminiscent of the latest trends in UI design. I discovered it thanks to a tweet by Beautiful Pixels’ Preshit.

Sun has a 3D interface that lets you swipe between locations that you can add in a sidebar on the right. There are sound effects for when you open the sidebar or succesfully add a new location. You can even switch between Fahrenheit/Celsius and 9 different color schemes. Like a native app, Sun will request access to your location to display local weather without having to enter that one manually.

Another nice thing about Sun is how it dynamically changes its webclip icon depending on the latest weather information it fetched. As explained by the developer (and others on Twitter), this is possible by “drawing” the icon every time shortly after the app is launched.

There are some aspects of Sun that reveal its web origins. Animations are slower than what you’d expect from a native app; there are some random refreshes of the entire page; text selection can get funny in the sidebar.

Still, Sun is a great experiment and you should check it out here.

Horizon Integrates Weather With Your Calendar

Horizon

My wish for a better iPhone calendar app was granted by Flexibits with Fantastical, but Horizon, a new app by Kyle Rosenbluth, is worth a mention. Horizon integrates weather information with your calendar, providing an elegant overview of events and weather forecasts in a clean interface.

Horizon’s main screen shows a list of the next few days in your calendar; you can swipe down on the month’s name in the title bar to bring up a 30-day overview of the current month. In month view, “today” has a gray indicator, and events are shown as thin colored lines: a day with only one event will have one line, while busier days will have multiple lines. You can tap & hold a day to quickly create an event, and you can swipe horizontally to switch to the previous or next month.

The core aspect of Horizon is how it mixes weather with event information. When creating a new event, the app uses Google location data (which I found to be the best provider here in Italy) to show a list of suggestions in a bar above the keyboard; once you’ve chosen a location, Horizon will fetch a weather forecast (up to 14 days out). The app was created for people who deal with appointments in multiple locations on a daily basis: by entering a single day’s view, you’ll see a list of all your upcoming events alongside their respective locations and weather forecasts. A colored bar at the top can be swiped to show more weather information for each event (a weather icon, temperature, and chance of rain).

I like how Horizon presents different data sets without cluttering the interface. The app comes with neat animations, a focus on current and future events (past days are hidden from the main list), and a night mode if you’re not into the default white color scheme. I highly recommend Horizon for people who wish to see calendar and weather information at a glance in a single screen. The app is $1.99 on the App Store.

Dec
12
2012

Today Weather

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As I’ve written many times here on MacStories, I’m no weather expert. I’ve used Apple’s Weather app for years, until I figured that I wanted just a little more stats and a different interface to check on forecasts and current conditions. Still, I don’t need a complex weather app with terminology I would need a dictionary for. That’s why for the past few weeks I’ve been using Check The Weather and liked its simple approach to weather data presentation.

Today Weather is a new app by Savvy Apps – creators of some of our favorite iOS apps like Agenda and Buzz Contacts – that, while similar to Check The Weather on the surface, is actually more reminiscent of Agenda. (more…)

Oct
17
2012

Check the Weather

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I’m not obsessed with weather apps as much as I am with text editors. Throughout 2012, several developers came out with their own takes on presenting weather data in beautiful interfaces with custom designs; however, when it comes to weather, in spite of my non-obsession, I demand efficiency. Most of the time, many of the “great-looking” weather apps only focus on capturing the user’s attention with pixels, whereas weather software should, in my opinion, pay attention to data quality and information density more than anything else.

For the past week I’ve been using Check the Weather by David Smith, and, interestingly enough, I haven’t gone back to Apple’s Weather app yet. Like I said, I’m not obsessed with weather apps for iOS, but I like to try a new one every once in a while. In the past months I’ve always ended up going back to Apple’s app after a few hours – so there must be something Check the Weather is doing well.

I don’t want advanced data that I don’t understand from a weather app. To grasp the reason why I’m liking Check the Weather, I made a list of the features I need from a weather app:

  • What’s the weather like today
  • What’s the weather going to be like later today
  • What’s the temperature going to be like today
  • When is the sun rising (I live in Italy, work on a US timezone, so I see the sunrise every morning)
  • What’s the weather going to be like tomorrow
  • What’s the weather going to be like this week

With these few “requirements”, I can get a pretty clear overview of weather conditions and temperatures. Check the Weather is remarkably good at this because it presents many data points without cluttering the interface.

Check the Weather is a dashboard for weather conditions. At the top, there’s a bar that indicates your current location and, through a subtle animation, when the app is checking for updated data. Immediately below this bar, you’ll find the current temperature and weather conditions for your location. And then, underneath conditions, one my favorite features of the app: a graph of temperature for the next 12/15 hours. It’s a simple and effective way to visualize temperature changes (like how it dramatically drops between 6 and 8 PM).

Continuing with the main screen, the bottom part is dedicated to showing weather conditions and low/high temperature forecasts for the next three days and sunrise/sunset times. I particularly appreciate the sunrise functionality, as I mentioned above, and I find it somewhat curious that several developers decide not to include it. I also found it accurate for my location (Viterbo, Italy), and I only noticed a few days ago that moon phase is included in this section as well.

One thing that’s immediately distinctive about Check the Weather is its design. Different from any other weather app I’ve tried, Check the Weather makes extensive use of Hoefler & Frere-Jones’ font Idlewild for all its weather forecasts. While I wasn’t sure about this choice at first, within a few days I’ve come to appreciate the unique look of Check the Weather – this app is not yet another Clear clone. Check the Weather is different (a weather app with a very specific font and focused on data rather than prettiness isn’t something you see every day), and I like it. I can see, though, why this is also a very bold (no pun intended) move on Smith’s side: sometimes, people just want pretty pixels heavy on graphics and animations.

Check the Weather is unique in how it approaches the trend of placing additional information in a panel on the side. The app, in fact, uses two panels to display hourly forecasts and extended forecasts for the next 12 days. Hourly forecasts are nicely implemented, as “dark hours” are embedded between sunset and sunrise – as they should be. I don’t typically use extended forecasts (I think predicting 10 days in advance is a bit too much), but I like how they’re presented nevertheless.

As an Italian who reviews weather apps, the typical dreaded moment arrives when it’s time to talk about data. Simply put: if you live in the US you’ll have more features. While Check the Weather tries to be “global” with accurate data by HAMweather, there are several functionalities that are US-only, such as hazardous weather alerts from the National Weather Service, a doppler radar precipitation map, and integration with Dark Sky for minute-by-minute precipitation forecasts. I haven’t been able to test this, but David told me that Dark Sky API data is available in the precipitation view (swipe up from main screen). I believe Check the Weather is the first app to integrate with the recently announced Dark Sky API, and, even though it doesn’t support push notifications yet, it is a huge plus for US customers. As an Italian, all I can say is that weather data and forecasts were accurate and in line with Yahoo weather (the provider Apple uses).

One thing I’ve noticed about Check the Weather: it is localized in 7 languages (including Italian), and it is fully VoiceOver-enabled.

Check the Weather accessibilityCheck the Weather’s support for VoiceOver allows users to listen to forecasts.

Check the Weather is refreshingly different. It doesn’t look like any other weather app I’ve tried, and it leverages its uniqueness to provide weather data in a variety of ways that I find useful and intuitive. What I like most about Check the Weather is that it brings me the information I need without confusing me with custom menus or complicated interface designs. At this point, I only hope David will find a way to add more international weather providers and release an iPad version of the app.

Check the Weather is available at $2.99 on the App Store.