UNLIKE the iPhone, the iPad doesn’t come equipped with its own inbuilt weather app. One of the things we like about the iPhone is the weather summary in the notification centre.
There are myriad weather apps available for the iPad, but which ones should you avoid, and which ones should you download? We’ve compiled a list of five of the better apps out there. Of course, it depends on whether you’re after a simple weather app that will tell you if tomorrow will be sunny or cloudy, or if you’re on the lookout for something more complex, that contains humidity levels, chance of rainfall, pressure etc., so we’ve done our best to include a mixture of apps that cater for various needs.
Weather Snap (free) Rating: *** (available on the app store)
Initally, this app seemed rather good. It gives you a five-day forecast, complete with minimum and maximum temperatures, wind speed and direction, and the general outlook for the day. You can even change the colour of the background. But a closer look reveals that, whilst it’s all well and good having a few aesthetic quirks, Weather Snap is quite disappointing. Holding the iPad upright (i.e. in portrait mode) means the app takes up about a third of the screen, with the other two-thirds left empty. The wind speed and direction information scrolls across the screen, which can make it hard to read at times. Turning the iPad landscape does mean that the scrolling stops and there’s less of an empty gap, but it’s still a bit bare. The app does, however, manage to pinpoint your exact location (placing us in ‘Holyrood’ rather than just ‘Edinburgh’) which is a nice touch. You can also change the wind speed and temperature units but it all feels a bit half-finished. Maybe we shouldn’t complain too much because it’s free, but Weather Snap feels like it provides the bare minimum when it could provide so much more.
Outlook: Light drizzle.
Weather Live (£1.49) Rating: ***** (available on the app store)
Developers Apalon describe this as ‘the most beautiful weather app. Ever.’ And they’ve got every right to be that confident, as Weather Live is seriously impressive. A display redolent of Android phones shows the current temperature and conditions, with a weather icon (currently a cloud due to the overcast conditions), along with the minimum and maximum temperatures. It’s even got humidity, precipitation, pressure and visibility arranged in a row at the bottom, with a barometer showing wind speed and direction in the middle. The six-day forecast complete with highs and lows tucked away at the bottom of the screen prevents the app from being too ‘busy’ or cluttered. The animated background is an example of Apalon making the most of the iPad’s capabilities; a nice extra that isn’t entirely necessary. The date and time in the middle of the screen means the app could effectively be used as a clock as well. Our location has been pinpointed to the ‘New Town’, so whilst not quite as accurate as some apps, it’s still close enough. Weather Live also shows the temperature as a ‘badge’ on the app icon on the home screen; again, a small touch but one that seals the app’s position as one of, if not the best weather app for the iPad.
Celsius (£0.69) Rating: *** (available on the app store)
If the Celsius app was a car, it would be a Volvo estate - dependable and reliable, without too many frills. A ten-day forecast is laid out, complete with highs and lows and weather icons. Wind speed and direction is included, and each day can be expanded to show three-hourly weather updates. It includes sunrise and sunset times, along with the UV index and the chance of rain. Humidity, pressure and visibility is included on a daily basis. There is one in-app purchase, giving access to a rain radar, satellite maps and wind speed maps, which does feel a bit cheeky after paying for the app in the first place. The user can choose from a light or dark theme - we preferred the dark theme, as it was easier to read the figures. Overall, Celsius is perfectly fine - it doesn’t have any features to make it stand out from the crowd, but perhaps simplicity is preferable.
Outlook: Cloudy with sunny intervals.
Weather+ (£0.69) Rating: *** (available on the app store)
The first thing we noticed about this app was the very large time display. We then noticed that the developers had called it a ‘weather station for your iPad’, which possibly explains the smorgasbord of information presented. To be fair, Weather+ does have detailed hourly forecasts, and the same level of information found in the Weather Live app, but it lacks the stylish interface so many other weather apps boast. We’re also a bit unsure about the ‘live video loops’ of selected locations though, because what we’re seeing doesn’t look anything like Edinburgh, and the light rain forecast for tomorrow looks more like snow. Weather+ isn’t terrible; it provides the necessary information and certainly isn’t the worst app out there, but Weather Live does the same job a whole lot better. Whilst there’s a certain degree of functionality in this app, you’d be better off paying the extra 80 pence for Weather Live.
The Weather Channel (Free) Rating: **** (available on the app store)
We were sceptical when we downloaded this, owing to some of the less-than-favourable reviews on the iTunes site, but we needn’t have worried. The Weather Channel app (not to be confused with the ‘Weather Channel’ app) is seriously impressive. 36-hour and 10-day forecasts, along with hourly updates and the usual stats such as wind speed, humidity, UV index, dew point, visibility, sunrise and sunset and pressure are all listed here, tucked away in a sub menu that can be maximised and minimised easily. The interface is very slick, and we really like the animated backgrounds. We especially liked being able to expand the windows in the app by clicking on a date, e.g. Sun Jun-3 and getting a summary for that day. In fact, if it wasn’t for the occasional freezing, or the fact that it feels a little laggy at times - that is, slow to respond, The Weather Channel app might well have pipped Weather Live for our favourite. That said, given this app is totally free, with no in-app purchases or hidden charges, we don’t feel right complaining. It does have an ad bar at the bottom of the screen, but it can be hidden from view, and the wealth of detail contained in The Weather Channel app far outweighs the minor gripes we have.
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Weather for Edinburgh
Saturday 25 May 2013
Temperature: 6 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 9 C to 16 C
Wind Speed: 14 mph
Wind direction: South west