Yahoo’s Surprisingly Gorgeous New iOS Weather App Centers Around Crowdsourced City Photos

While Yahoo! has quietly powered iOS’ basic built-in Weather app since the platform’s earliest days, they’ve never gotten around to launching a standalone iOS Weather app of their very own — until today.

And man, is this new Weather app pretty.

Yahoo’s new Weather app is almost entirely focused around its visuals — so here, just check out this quick demo video:

(Apologies if you dig your videos with narration. I’m on the tail end of a gnarly cold right now, and I currently sound like the lovechild of Macy Gray and Gilbert Gottfried.)

Yahoo made that. Yahoo!

The initial screen you’ll see for each city keeps things nice and simple. It’ll show all the basics: the current temp, the day’s highs and lows, the local time for that city, and a quick description of the current weather situation.

Behind that data, though, is the first sign of just how much polish they put into this thing. All of that info sits on top of a photo of the city whose weather forecast you’re lookin’ at, matched down to the time of day and type of weather. You’re looking at the forecast on a rainy afternoon in San Francisco? The picture behind it will be of something like the Golden Gate Bridge at mid-day, rain pouring. Slide over to New York, meanwhile, and it’ll be a photo of a perfectly clear evening skyline (or whatever else would match the current time/weather there.)
This photo voodoo is all powered by Flickr’s Project Weather, a crowd sourcing effort they launched late last year. If there’s no suitable photo of the exact city you’re looking for, it’ll pull up one from the nearest major neighbor. If they can’t find anything that fits nearby, it’ll default to something a bit more generic. Photographers get full credit and linkage for their photos, of course.

Scroll down within a city’s view, and just about every bit of data you’d want out of a weather app is tucked inside. It’s got the upcoming forecast, precipitation reports, air pressure, and all sorts of other things that have always and will always confuse the hell out of me.

Weather data? Neat. But what’s particularly amazing here is the design of the app itself. It’s a million impressive little things. It’s the blurring of the background as you dive into the grittier details; its the subtle parallax scroll when flipping between cities; it’s the way the cute lil’ windmills spin faster or slower based on the actual current windspeed of the city. It’s the fact that this is made by friggin’ Yahoo.
When someone mentions Yahoo, “super pretty mobile apps” isn’t the first thing that pops into anyone’s mind. Hell, it’s probably not the twentieth thing, either.

But between this new Weather app and Yahoo’s other announcement this morning of a (really solid) new Yahoo! Mail app for iOS/Android tablets, it’s clear: Yahoo is starting to get pretty damned good at this. Marissa Mayer promised better UIs from the company back in January, and she’s holding true to that.

So what changed? From what I hear, there’s been a pretty big reorganization of the way the mobile division inside Yahoo works. Whereas the mobile folk used to be fragmented throughout the company’s many offices (an engineer or two here, a designer or three there) the vast majority of their mobile guys were all moved to one big floor of Yahoo’s Sunnyvale office back in January. It’s a whole lot easier to get things done — and to get them done right — when half of your team isn’t in some other office.

Whatever’s causing it, I look forward to seeing more.

Yahoo’s new Weather app doesn’t seem to be live in the App Store just yet, but we’ll update this post with a link as soon as we see it go up.

Update: It’s live!