Weather Line is a Fantastic iPhone Weather Client

Apple ships a very capable weather app in iOS 7. That weather app uses Yahoo’s information, and takes cues from other apps in the design and feature department. On iOS, many developers take a hint as to what they need to include in a weather app from Apple’s efforts.

Weather Line goes in a different direction: what two conditions do you need to know most often? Temperature, and whether or not it’s going to rain in the next hour or so — or at least that’s what the developers bet on. Other information is available in the app, but those two key pieces of data are displayed most prominently. Interested?

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Using Weather Line

Weather Line is appropriately named: the foremost interface element is a line graph that displays the predicted temperature and cloud cover over time. The current time is denoted by a label that says “now,” and it is highlighted in light blue.

A simple design for a relatively simple app, the graphs display temperature and sun information.

A simple design for a relatively simple app, the graphs display temperature and sun information.

You can view this line graph as either hourly, daily, or monthly. Daily is the seven-day forecast, while monthly predicts weather a month out.

Below the line graph is a general prediction for the current day’s weather, which I’ve found to be quite accurate. Below that is more information, including chance of precipitation, humidity, sunrise and sunset, and wind speed.

Below that is the rain prediction, powered by Forecast.io. Forecast.io tries to accurately predict not just when it is going to rain, but also how heavily. There are limitations: primarily, this forecast can only show sixty minutes out. Secondly, it is limited in its availability. This handy bar is a useful part of Weather Line, so I’d be sure to find out if your country is supported before purchasing the app.

The week view shows information about the upcoming weather; I've found it to be very accurate.

The week view shows information about the upcoming weather; I’ve found it to be very accurate.

There is a slight learning curve to Weather Line, particularly if you are used to the animations and flashy design of other weather apps. Weather Line is comparatively stark — there aren’t many colors. Once you are used to the navigation, Weather Line quickly becomes more accessible.

Design

The design of Weather Line is light. In fact, the app absolutely exudes the fact that it was designed with iOS 7 in mind. White, white everywhere — even the icon is very light.

The month view is good for getting an idea of trends, but it isn't as accurate as one might hope for.

The month view is good for getting an idea of trends, but it isn’t as accurate as one might hope for.

I enjoy this design, even though it is currently the popular way to do make an app. It still doesn’t feel old or used up, and it allows Weather Line to be an attractive app all while focusing on presenting information as best as possible. The line graph approach to showing a forecast also works very well with the design: gone are fancy graphics, and in are lighter, easier-to-read graphs.

Accuracy

What use is a weather app if it says that today will be full of sun, with a slight chance of rain towards the end of the afternoon, when it in fact pours rain all day? Not much — and luckily, accuracy isn’t something that Weather Line sacrificed to be fast and attractive.

You can edit your list of locations in the settings of the app.

You can edit your list of locations in the settings of the app.

The app, as mentioned above, is powered by Forecast.io. This is a relative newcomer to the weather space, but I’ve been very happy with the results thus far. The temperature is always within a degree (Fahrenheit) of what my outdoor thermometer reads. If Weather Line — and therefore Forecast.io — predicts rain, I’m going to prepare for it. I trust the information that Weather Line shows, and that is ultimately the mark of a good weather app.

Simplicity

Weather Line is not a prosumer app; it’s design is excellent, but it also focuses on a relatively small amount of features in order to achieve the design that it has.

What you see is what you get, so be prepared for that. For many consumers, that’s more than enough. It’s roughly equivalent to what Apple’s stock iOS 7 weather app shows, so it’s easy to make a comparison there to see if you need a more powerful client. If you do, I can’t say that Weather Line is for you.

Who Is Weather Line For?

In fact, there are many who probably don’t benefit from Weather Line. First of all, Forecast.io’s weather information seems more accurate in an urban setting. This is just what I have found when traveling; if I’m in a city and it’s about to rain, Forecast.io-powered apps can accurately predict it. If I’m somewhere more rural, this isn’t guaranteed to happen. Again, I have no evidence to back this up other than my own experience.

Weather Line will always present weather information for your current location.

Weather Line will always present weather information for your current location.

Given that, if you are in an area that receives a small amount of rainfall, this probably isn’t for you. Considering that much of the app displays information about upcoming precipitation, it doesn’t make sense to buy Weather Line if you’re in a desert, or somewhere where weather is infamously difficult to predict.

Final Thoughts

Weather Line isn’t for everyone, and that’s how it should be. The App Store has literally a dozen or so well-designed apps for every purpose. Some distinguish themselves by design, feature set, or even supported area. Regardless, you have plenty to choose from in any circumstance.

Weather Line is a solid entry, and it stands out as being very well-suited to iOS 7. It has the basic set of features nailed, and anyone looking for a slick replacement to Apple’s stock app will be very happy with Weather Line.


Summary

Weather Line is a stylish and capable weather client that is an excellent replacement for Apple's own app, but it may not be the best for power users.

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