Thanks to some savvy programming, gorgeous graphics, and accurate reporting, Weather Snitch 2 sets a new standard for iPhone weather apps.
Weather apps for iPhone are a dime a dozen. They come in all flavors — simplified apps for the casual user and complex apps for those who want all the available data. Their designs are all over the map as well, from elegantly stripped-down to way-too-busy. People keep making new weather apps because: 1) there are lots of different kinds of users, and 2) it’s doggone hard to get a weather app just right.
Snitchware approaches this conundrum from a fresh perspective, creating a whole new kind of presentation. The result is something so pretty and so slick, that to paraphrase the late Steve Jobs, “you’ll want to stick your tongue out and lick it.” And that’s not just because of the one hundred original weather icons used to represent every possible weather condition — though it helps. These artistic icons were drawn by hand, but they’re full color in a high-res, CGI look that’s smooth and beautiful. (I tried to find a variety of these images to show you for this review, such as snow or ice, but it’s hot everywhere in the whole freaking world right now.)
It’s the crisp, perfectly formatted presentation that makes Weather Snitch 2 stand out. Every animation is wondrously fluid, every object placement has just the right proportions, every bit of text looks like it was typeset and approved by Apple’s own marketing department. It’s so well put together, you can tell it’s been honed and tweaked and polished with an incredible eye for detail.
Another reason it succeeds is because it’s crazy customizable. There are two main views: a regular view that offers loads of data for daily, weekly, or monthly forecasts, or a “fullscreen” view of sparser details presented in a larger format. It’s clear that Snitchware is attempting to appeal to both kinds of users — casual and pro — because both have a view to call home. If you’re really into all the extra data, the regular view offers enough details to satisfy even the biggest of weather nerds. You get the current real temperature and the “feels like” temperature, along with stuff like humidity levels, visibility, wind speed, and more. There’s even moon phases, laid out in a lovely calendar view. Check the daily view and you get a screen with horizontally scrolling icons and text that show you what to expect hour-by-hour. An options menu brings up a long list of further refinements you can make, such as measurement units you want to use (metric or imperial) or what day you consider to be the start of the week.
If you don’t need that much information, double-tap anywhere on the screen to switch to a fullscreen view with current conditions and some basic forecast details. A colored box shows the current temperature and conditions with one of those lovely icons, and you can slide the box either up or down for more information. Double-tap again to switch back to the other view.
Among my favorite features is the thoughtfully-integrated social media option, which gives you the ability to share a graphic created on-the-fly, showing your current weather conditions, via either Facebook or Twitter. It’s quick, easy, and it looks snazzy enough to impress your friends on your Facebook wall or Twitter feed. For such an advanced app, it’s surprising that notifications haven’t been implemented yet, but Snitchware promises that they’re coming soon.
The only thing I don’t like about the app is a very small thing, so I hesitate to even mention it. Outside the app, the current temperature shows up as the red notification number floating to the top right of the app’s icon. It’s a creative use of the alert badge to be sure, but my eyes are so trained to seeing those red badges as actual alert counts, it’s disorienting to turn on my phone and see that there are 97 “alerts” hovering over the Weather Snitch 2 app. An option to turn this feature off altogether would be welcome.
But that’s a personal preference thing. Weather Snitch 2 is a joy to use, and I discover more little details and things it can do every time I open it. It’s a visual feast, taking great advantage of the iPhone’s small screen (I’d love to see what Snitchware could do with the huge real estate the iPad’s screen offers), and its information is accurate and timely, with forecasts available across most of the planet (available in more than a dozen languages).
App developers, take note: Snitchware has thrown down the gauntlet. Weather Snitch 2 is the best all-around weather app available.