Weather apps. They are often compared. Sometimes reviled, sometimes praised. It seems as if everybody’s trying to find an alternative to the stock iOS Weather app. But why?
Well, the stock app (while free) does not have a ton of features, and some people simply want to get more out of their weather app. That said, it’s really no different then people trying to find different calendar apps to offset the stock app or a different note taking app to offset the stock app. But I found that weather apps are different.
In this post I’m going to compare several of the top contending weather apps in the iTunes store. I’m going to compare them to the stock weather app as well. Hopefully by the end of the piece, you will find that I have spared you the pain of searching for the perfect weather app that meets your needs.
The most minimal of weather apps, WeatherNeue(free) is for the user who just wants to know what it is like where they are. It grabs your location upon startup, then it gives you the current conditions and a four-day forecast of that location. No more, no less. All you’ll find in this app is the local temperature, sky conditions, humidity, wind speed/direction, and the four-day forecast.
But for some people, that’s all they want.
Ben Brooks, who has reviewed more weather apps than I can event think of, really loves this app. He describes S°lar($1.99) as “the Clear of weather apps” and he’s spot on.
The app itself is beautiful to look at, and offers some amazing swiping features that allow you to see a forecast of what to expect over the next 24 hours by pulling your finger up the screen, and you can also see how the weather will look over the next three days by just swiping down on the screen. A double tap brings up any of the locations you’ve stored in the app, and you can even activate a feature that tells you what it “feels like” outside.As a Canadian, I really appreciate the ability to view temperatures in Celsius, and you can also share to Facebook and Twitter if you’d like.
I don’t need much more than what S°lar offers in a weather app, so it’s found a spot on my home screen. If you’re into a more fully functional minimal weather app, than give S°lar a look.
Partly Cloudy($1.99) isn’t just a complete weather app experience, it’s also a very unique one. The clock visualization within the app offers you an array of information for multiple locations.
You’ll be able to see temperature, wind force, amount of precipitation, and more right from the eye-catching main view. It has a minimalistic look and feel to it and yet provides a plethora of information. You can look as far ahead as 7 days when checking out weather forecasts just by running your finger on the screen ahead in time.
Partly Cloudy is a great choice for those who want to have all of the weather information at their fingertips – and yet not get overwhelmed by it at the same time.
I remember sitting outside waiting for fireworks and there was the faint smell of forthcoming rain in the air. So I opened up Sky Motion(free) and wanted to see how much longer I had before I’d get dumped on. That’s what it does best.
It uses a combination of geolocation, radar, and motion tracking tools, as well as “other technology borrowed from the computer graphic and video game industry” to forecast all sorts of precipitation. So while it might not be the perfect weather app on its own, it is a nice weather companion app that could work alongside the stock Weather app or one of the ones mentioned above. After all, if you live in the Pacific Northwest (as I do) you never know when rain is going to strike.
Similar to Sky Motion in many ways, Dark Sky($3.99) also focuses on whether or not rain is in the forecast – and when. It has a pretty unique user interface, where you see a timeline with a graph of the precipitation over the next hour and below it explains current conditions and “predicts” what the next hour will bring. Much like with S°lar, you can swipe your finger to see what is coming up over the next few hours and the radar view it offers is stunning.
Again, this may not be a standalone app if you’re looking for a complete outlook of the weather in your area (or in other areas, although Dark Sky can search other areas other than your current location). But it can act as a nice complement to an app that does have a more generalized approach to the weather. But it is a pricey complement, so bear that in mind.
I use S°lar and Sky Motion as my weather apps of choice, but there are plenty of reasons to go with any of the ones mentioned above. Think I’ve missed one worth mentioning? Let me – and our readers — know in the comments.
Photo credit: Cliff (CC BY 2.0)