Appledystopia: Independent Technology News

Best iPad Weather Apps

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Intellicast HD

While not the most popular, Intellicast HD is the best weather app of the bunch. The app features a simple design, but is loaded with useful content. It is not heavily adorned with graphics and animation. The map-based precipitation forecast is a very useful feature that’s not included in most weather apps. With this map-based forecast, one can see exactly where rain or snow will fall in the near future. The 5-hour duration of the radar forecast is ample and more than other apps provide. After all, longer forecasts are typically inaccurate.

Intellicast HD main view

The weather map has many different modes, including cloud cover, storms, temperature and wind speed/direction. Intellicast offers a comprehensive list of map overlays which can be assigned to the “quick pick” toolbar. This is simply the most versatile and complete weather app available.

Intellicast HD menu options

The weather map is the key feature of the app. It’s the default view. Current weather conditions and the 10-day forecast appear below the map. I think this is exactly what most people want to see. Intellicast isn’t just about gimmicks and fluff, like flip-clocks and animation.

Intellicast also has every other feature you’d expect — 10-day forecast, hourly weather forecast, and weather alerts. Its SkyTime feature offers a clock and 5-day forecast set against an animated background, for those who want an aesthetically pleasing weather dashboard. This feature is great if you leave your iPad mounted on a display stand. Even the free version of the app is ad-free in SkyTime mode. Intellicast offers in-app purchases to remove ads with subscriptions to their boating and storm tracker services. Each 6 month subscription costs $1.99.

Intellicast HD SkyTime mode

UPDATE: Intellicast just added a weather stations layer to their iOS app. This layer will display the temperature and wind conditions for different weather stations. This is very useful for people who live in areas with microclimates, such as the SF Bay Area. Users can now see precise weather conditions from the nearest weather station. Tap the layers button on the toolbar to turn this layer on.

Intellicast weather stations layer

MyRadar Weather Radar

MyRadar, as the name implies, offers a radar-centric user interface. The app is adequate, but nothing special. It offers professional weather maps with accurate doppler radar data. Unfortunately, competing apps offer this functionality as a feature, in addition to other content. With MyRadar, the maps are pretty much the bulk of the app’s content.

Beyond radar maps, MyRadar doesn’t have much else to offer. There is a 5 day forecast available on the main map screen. It just doesn’t stand up to the competition. A 5-day forecast isn’t sufficient and there’s no hourly forecast. The forecast doesn’t even have wind speed and direction information.

When you start the app for the first time, it offers detailed instructions. This is something I wish more apps would do. Most apps are pretty easy to figure out, but there’s often a few features that aren’t so obvious. It’s ironic because MyRadar is fairly simple, rendering user instructions superfluous. It would be great if some of the more complicated apps offered a quick primer.

Overall, it’s a decent app if you just care about doppler radar maps. The problem is that there are better apps that offer maps and much more. If this app could offer an animated forecast on the doppler radar map, it would be worth downloading. Perhaps the developer could look into improving it. Nonetheless, this app is quite popular. (continue…)


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