The Best Weather App for Your iPhone

iOS has a lot of great free and paid weather apps, I thought I would share what I thikn about the market. The best weather app for your iphone is actually two apps, and they’re not native apps, they are websites bookmarked to your Home Screen. The first one is Forecast and the second Lines. Both are useful desktop websites, but are better installed on a phone.

The apps are from the people behind a very popular native iPhone app, Dark Sky app, which costs $3.99. A reasonable price for an awesome app. I bought it and used it until they introduced Forecast.io, a free website that uses their manicured data they’ve acquired while building the paid app.

Forecast

Forecast.io Web App

I love everything about this app except one thing.

It’s simple and lacks color. Too many apps are based solely on color. I know what 80 degrees feels like, I have no idea what a yellowish orange feels like.

The app has enough complexity, albeit hidden, which I like because most of the time I don’t care about the sunrise, dew point or wind direction. Many apps show these metrics by default taking away from what’s important. The current and nearby conditions.

The app has right now, today and next seven days weather. Weather changes so much that even a one day forecast can be wrong. Its essential to know what right now is, kind of important to see today and nice to know what this week looks like.

I learnd from living in Nebraska that weather condition change quickly and severely. Forecast will show a red bar for severe weather alerts, a feature hard to miss with a monochrome color scheme.

The One Downside

The map is a bit odd, I’m not really sure what it’s showing. Is that radar of clouds? Or is that precipitation?

I worked on weather apps at iNet Solutions Group and found that radar is a mixed bag that needs to be interpretted; with a lot of layers and noise discovered by NEXRAD Radar.

Its abiguous at first glance and could use more than one layer or atleast a label as to what it’s showing. I hate complicated weather apps because they can be very useless. I’m just sayin this feature needs a little tweaking.

Lines

Lines Web App

This app is different visualization of the identical data from Forecast. Its the same times periods and has all the same metrics. This isn’t just for visual users, it’s showing all the different data across time for a single metric.

I can see how the weather is trending and where might be going almost instantly. With less taps, I can see a key metrics plotted against many sources of data. The bold black line is the stabilized average of the various sources. Most apps only use one data source and if they’re diligent, two sources.

What makes this app earns it spot next to Forecast on my Home Screen is the visualization of that same data in a digestable manner. This is the app I wanted after using Forecast for a while.

Conclusion

No one displays weather as simply and elegantly with such care for their data as Forecast. Most apps try to impress through meaningless animations or bright colors. The color in Forecast and Lines is used only when necessary, to convey meaning and in the end delivers weather faster.

These weather apps are not for everyone, some folks need high levels of detail and multi-layered radar. But I recommend you check them out, the website works on iOS, Android, Mac OS X and Windows (another great aspect that some apps don’t support).

Bonus

Oh and they point use the trendy “flat UI” that’s popular these days.