There’s no shortage of weather apps on the market, but you may have noticed that few of them are actually all that good. That’s where a new entry called Weather Atlas, from the developer behind the popular productivity app Launch Center Pro, comes in. This newly launched weather application aims to be a better alternative to the stock weather app, offering a more modern take on weather apps, as well as a design that’s ready for the new, taller screen expected in the upcoming iPhone 8.
According to Weather Atlas creator, David Barnard, the app includes bottom-focused navigation modeled after Apple’s Maps app, as well as a stacked maps and forecast that will take advantage of the extra space provided by the iPhone 8’s extra vertical space.
“Weather Atlas started as an update to my old weather app, Perfect Weather,” he explains. “I built Perfect Weather in 2013 because there were no apps at the time that showed a glanceable view of both the forecasts and weather maps,” Barnard continues. “Living in Texas where storms can pop up randomly or blow through from the north or south, I like to take a quick look at the radar even if there’s no rain forecasted in my immediate area.”
“In 2017 there are now a few weather apps that do show both the forecast and weather maps in the same view, but none of them do it well,” he adds.
Plus, he notes that even though the weather app market is crowded, these apps see high usage, which makes the idea to enter the space still compelling.
I have to agree that many of today’s top weather apps are starting a feel a bit dated.
Yahoo’s entry in the space years ago was then heralded as a surprisingly attractive creation with its heavy focus on visuals, but its big in-app advertisements have since limited its appeal. Meanwhile, other highly ranked apps like those from The Weather Channel, Weather Underground, AccuWeather, WeatherBug and others perform their utilitarian tasks as promised, but their designs feel a little less-than-current.
Then there’s that small matter of how AccuWeather was sending users’ location data to a third party, which recently led many users to dump the app from their iPhone. (If that’s a concern for you, Weather Atlas is a good replacement because it doesn’t require your location to work. There are ways to use it without providing access to your personal data. And if you do share location data, it’s not sold or shared with ad networks.)
At launch, the new app includes a 10-day forecast; but unlike some weather apps, this forecast also includes hourly breakdowns for all ten days – just keeping scrolling on the hourly forecast screen to see the later days.
The mapping component in the app will display radar and cloud layers, as well as temperature, humidity, and precipitation accumulation – layers that aren’t that aren’t as standard elsewhere.
The app also supports warning layers for things like thunderstorms, tornadoes, hurricanes, and tropical tracks – the latter being especially timely given how Hurricane Irma is now getting cooked up out in the Atlantic.
Plus, Weather Atlas takes advantage of another newer iOS feature, as well – it lets you choose your preferred app icon for your homescreen from a broad selection. Though support for customizable icons were launched earlier this year with iOS 10.3, it’s still not too common these days to see apps offering this feature. Outside of MLB at Bat and NHL’s apps, we haven’t seen broad adoption from the developer community.
You can even change the weather icons within the app to match your preferred style. A Notification Center widget is included, too, if that’s where you prefer to check the forecast.
On iPad, the app leverages Apple’s latest technologies like Split View.
The app, at launch, provides most of the basics you’d need, but will be updated with support for other features in future releases like push notifications. However, the plan is not to overwhelm users’ with too much data like “some of the nerdier weather apps” do, as Barnard puts it.
The app is a free download and is ad-supported, but you can remove ads by paying a $4.99 annual subscription, or $0.49 per month.
This “Pro” subscription allows you to support the app’s maker, and gain access to other features including some of those mentioned above, like the customizable icons; warning layers on the maps; additional weather layers like Temperature, Humidity, and Precipitation Accumulation; and Hourly and Daily widgets. (The Current Conditions widget is free though.)
Subscriptions for weather apps is now a fairly common practice – The Weather Channel, for example, lets you block ads by subscription. Not everyone wants to pay, of course, which is why Weather Atlas still works well without the upgrade. (But I have to say the ads are pretty distracting…it’s worth paying to remove them.)
However, since its launch yesterday, around 7 percent of those who downloaded the app subscribed. That’s closer to 10 percent, if you only count those who launched the app and checked it out, notes Barnard.
Weather Atlas is available for the U.S. only in the App Store. Other countries may be supported in the future.