I have a number of weather apps on my iPhone. Overall, they are OK, but I’ve generally had two complaints: 1) They never seem to be as accurate as the information I find at the Weather Underground, and 2) They always seem to want to display the temperature in Fahrenheit OR Celsius, but never both at the same time! I grew up in Detroit where they often broadcast both (because Detroit is on the Canadian border). Additionally, I have friends all over the world. It’s nice to be able to talk about today’s weather without having to reset all the setting on my weather app!
Enter All Weather. This application, from Steve Parker, is actually endorsed by the people at Weather Underground. Better than that – it displays the current temperature (as well as wind chills/heat indexes) in both Fahrenheit and Celsius. Let’s take a look at how it does in general.
In General, All Weather is a thinly-disguised front end to the web found on the Weather Underground site. However, there are a few nice touches that make the app a little nicer and allow it compare a little more favorably to other apps available for the iPhone and iPod Touch. It will pull its information over WiFi or the 3G/GPRS data networks.
When you start the application, it immediately asks you if it’s alright to use your current location information, from which it proceeds to bring up the main screen with your local conditions and forecast. You will also see a button that allows you to see a list of locations you’ve viewed the weather for recently.
On the bottom of the main screen you’ll find an expected button to jump down to the forecast, and to go to the maps page, where you are able to bring up a wealth of different weather maps – local, national, and world-wide. There are a nice set of buttons allowing you to easily focus your map search.
Next there’s a bottom that brings up information relevant to severe alerts in your area and otherwise.
Living on the Gulf Coast, one of the things that I’m always paying attention to is the Tropics – mostly watching for a little thing called a hurricane. A lot of people are fond of hurricane watching. This is apparent in that places like the Weather Channel have a “Hurricane Central” and the Weather Underground also has links to information specifically about weather patterns in the tropics and hurricanes. In this application, you access that information by tapping the TROPICS button on the bottom of the main screen. This will tell you about storms all over the world. You can view the alerts associated with the storms, as well as a variety of maps relating to the storms. It even lets you drive into the projections and computer models associated with a given storm. Very cool!
One word of caution, however. This program is geared more toward people who want to drill right to the information they want. It’s for weather aficionados. There’s even a screen for a weather blog! For casual users, it might prove to be a little too much information. Additionally, if you enjoy the features and stories driven approach of the Weather Channel (and its app) or if you rely on a video forecast, then look elsewhere – this app will not meet your needs.
What I Liked: I like the association with Weather Underground, because that site has some of the most reliable forecasts I’ve seen. Additionally, All Weather allows you a depth of information you don’t see on a lot of other weather apps. And I LOVE that it is one of the only apps out there that display Celsius and Fahrenheit on the same page without changing settings!
What Could Be Improved: Although the All Weather application, much like the Weather Underground website seems to exhibit wonderful depth of information, both are a little lacking in presentation and performance. All Weather could be a little faster, and the interface a little more polished than it is in places. As I mentioned early on – it is sometimes a very thinly disguised web app. I’d like to see a little more polish added to the app, but not if it means a loss in the depth and quality of coverage.
Overall: For the bargain price of $0.99, All Weather offers a more in-depth look at the weather than many of the quick or free alternatives. One warning, however – it’s more geared toward weather aficionados, rather than someone trying to make travel plans. There are no video forecasts here (although maps can be animated). There are no business forecasts or interstate maps here – All Weather is more of a “pure” weather app than apps like “The Weather Channel” which focus on things like video presentation and feature stories. That different focus may change how useful you find this application. For me – it’s become my “must-have” weather app and my primary source of weather information!
All weather is available at the AppStore for $0.99.