APP OF THE DAY: The Weather Channel review (iPhone / iPod touch)
If you live anywhere but the UK, you might not know that the skies over our green and pleasant lands have been grey and full of more unpleasant moisture than an AC/DC mosh pit. Summer may have started, but we wouldn't have known over here.
However, in the last day or two the sun has come out, children are skipping gaily in the streets, and the average Brit is complaining that it's too hot. Never mind, it's bound to change soon enough so we'll have to keep our raincoats on standby. Thank the heavens we'll have plenty of pre-warning now that there's an updated version of....
The Weather Channel
- iPhone, iPod touch
The Weather Channel iPhone application has been around for a while, having even made it into Pocket-lint's "best weather apps for iPhone" feature back in 2010. However, it has just had an update that is far more than an aesthetic lick of varnish - The Weather Channel v5.0 is almost a completely new beast altogether.
Naturally, its core is the same. It takes the weather information found on weather.com and presents it in a format best suited to a mobile device. But it is the presentation and the integration of social networking features that improves the experience no end.
You can now choose several different locations to keep track of, including a home location. Plus, the app chooses your current location using its TruPoint local forecasting technology. You can then swipe through all of the different areas and forecasts, which is really handy if you are travelling around.
There are also massive improvements to the way icons and buttons are laid out. The settings button is now on all screens throughout the app so that you can chop and change as you go, without having to return to the root screen.
You can take your own photos to be used as backgrounds for different weather overlays, and the detailed weather data can be collapsed to make the screen less cluttered.
The biggest change, though, is the way that you can now relay your own weather circumstances through a variety of social sharing sites. You can take a picture and share it, including the current weather details, on Twitter, Facebook and through iWitness. You can also record video to post on to iWitness too, or view those posted by other users.
In fact, reading the simple weather forecast is probably only a small fraction of what you'd use The Weather Channel for.
There's only one small gripe. In order to keep the app free, it has an advertising bar that runs across the top of the screen, which looks clumsy. But hey, what would you rather have? A one-off payment, or a perpetually free service?
We thoroughly welcome this new version of our favourite weather application. If you haven't tried it out yet, or tried it before and didn't like it, give it a whirl.