Over the past year, a slew of new iPhone apps have transformed the average weather forecast into works of art and truly useful information displays. The hard part is keeping track of them, but fortunately, I’m a weather nerd and have downloaded more of them than I could ever use. Here are my favorites, all of them far superior to Apple’s standard weather app for iPhone. People in the northeast US might find these useful today as a blizzard descends on the region.
Today Weather ($0.99) is the one to download if you’re a normal person and only want to use a single weather app. It has a great interface for viewing the weather across many cities, and its hourly and daily forecasts are beautifully presented. Today Weather crams a lot of information into very little space while still remaining easy to use.
Solar ($1.99) offers an impressionistic view of the weather, translating conditions into a gorgeous, minimalist canvas. Sliding your thumb down the screen reveals the three day-forecast; sliding it down takes you through the next 24 hours. Solar is a joy to use, but it does take a while to get used to and doesn’t include enough detail for weather obsessives.
Blue ($0.99) is similar to Solar but somehow even more minimalist. It generates a gradient based on the current temperature and forecast. Unfortunately, Blue only shows you the weather in your current location.
Dark Sky ($3.99) does one thing very well: The app predicts, with impressive accuracy, whether it’s going to rain in the next 60 minutes. Forecasts are so precise that Dark Sky can tell you that the rain will start in 12 minutes and finish 20 minutes after that, letting you impress your friends or dodge the impending storm. Recently added push notifications are less accurate, though, and a big downside is that it only works in the United States.
Weather Neue (free) is the simplest weather app I’ve seen that doesn’t skimp on important information. It’s just a single screen, and you can’t do anything to it except change the colors. Oh, and it doesn’t cost anything.
Weather Dial ($0.99) also takes the single-screen approach and is arguably more beautiful than Weather Neue, though it’ll cost you a buck. The addition of sunrise and sunset times is a nice touch.
Check the Weather ($0.99) is the app for you if Weather Neue and Weather Dial are just a little too minimalist for you. The interface is very similar to Today Weather (swipe right for the hourly forecast, swipe left for daily), but it’s more focused on your current location. It packs in a lot of information without getting cluttered and also includes Dark Sky’s predictions for precipitation over the next 60 minutes, which is a nice touch.
Weathercube ($0.99) is sort of like a Rubik’s cube and sort of like nothing you’ve ever seen before. It calls itself a “gestural weather app” because everything is accessed by flipping the “cube” or individual tiles. That means it takes some time to figure out how everything works, but once you do, the interface makes a lot of sense. It’s minimalism with flair.
Partly Cloudy ($1.99) attempts to rethink how weather forecasts are displayed, borrowing the concept of a clock. The approach works best for visualizing precipitation; it’s less easy to compute for temperature. And it takes some time to get used to the idea of seeing the weather on a clock, especially when you choose the counterintuitive 24-hour and 7-day views. Still, it has a certain steampunkish beauty.
Weathermob (free) is a new social weather app that includes your average forecast but also allows you to report on conditions near you. That makes is a bore on an average day but quite compelling when a storm is descending on your area. And if the app achieves critical mass, its data could prove even more useful.
Weather Puppy (free) has one thing going for it, and that’s cute animals. It’s not otherwise a great weather app, and the selection of animals can get repetitive unless you pay up for more, but who doesn’t like a dog photo when it’s raining cats and dogs? (Incidentally, Weather Kitty is said to be coming soon.)
Buy Today Weather ($0.99) for current conditions and forecasts across multiple cities, and Americans should also spring for Dark Sky ($3.99) to check if it’s going to rain soon. But if you’d prefer to consolidate the functions of those two apps, then buy Check the Weather ($0.99), instead.