The free, just-updated Weather Channel iPhone app now offers so much information, I half expected it to tell me when the dinner cooking in my oven was ready.
If you’re a weather geek, you want this app. For starters, the home screen is now much more streamlined, with a photo of each city as a backdrop — not unlike Yahoo Weather, a great app for iPhone/iPad and Android that pulls images from Flickr.
In the center of the app's home screen is a large circle that shows the current temperature and conditions. Tap the circle and it spins around. On the flip side, you see what the temperature actually feels like, with information on current wind conditions, dew point, humidity, pressure, UV index and more.
If you swipe down, The Weather Channel app provides an hourly forecast for the next five hours. Tap "More," and you see an hourly forecast for the next 48 hours. Love that!
Further down, you see a 10-day forecast; a radar map; a series of videos from The Weather Channel’s TV programming; and something new called "Social Weather." With Social Weather, you can report the current conditions from your GPS location and see what other app users have reported.
Just when you think you’ve got your weather fix — there’s more! Continuing to swipe down, there are weather-related news stories to peruse, if you’re so inclined. Below that there's a pollen index, which displays the current levels of tree, grass, and weed pollens. Next up, "Our Favorite Things," another new feature, with stories and video clips from The Weather Channel. This feature is OK, but seems a bit self-serving.
The app also gives you the scoop on current conditions at your closest airport(s), including average delays. Finally, there’s a flu report, though to be honest, I didn’t find this particularly helpful.
Ads are the free app’s only downside. Unlike my favorite weather app, Yahoo Weather (for iOS and Android), which is both free and ad-free, you see three different ads in The Weather Channel iPhone app as you swipe from the home screen all the way down to the Flu Report. There are also ads at the beginning of some videos within the app. For $4, you can banish the ads with The Weather Channel Max for iPhone (which hasn't been updated in a year). Worth noting: As of this writing, The Weather Channel’s iPad and Android apps have not received similar makeovers.
A few reviewers on The Weather Channel’s App Store page grumbled about the new look and feel. One reviewer wrote: “sleek new design but if you’re used to the old one it’s now more complicated to get information that used to be easily accessible.” I won’t argue with that, but I’m not bothered by it, either. I don’t mind swiping down to get more information, and I love having so much weather information in one place.
Your move, Yahoo Weather.