Appledystopia: Independent Technology News Has the Best Forecast

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There are numerous weather apps and services available. This article explains why offers the most accurate and best forecast.

Meteorology isn’t an exact science. With so many variables involved, accurate predictions are difficult to make. This year, in particular, has been very wet, making the forecast all the more essential. I can wear a raincoat or carry an umbrella, but if I go shopping, it’s hard to keep my groceries dry when it is pouring. My dog hates to go for a walk when it’s raining. Like most people, I prefer to run outdoors when it’s not raining. All I really need is just a few hours of dry weather.

The App Store Doesn’t Have Any Decent Weather Apps

I used a lot of different weather apps to find a break in the rain, but they all differ so much. I ended up using multiple weather apps, but found that the underlying predictions are often grossly inaccurate. I understand that a 10 day forecast just isn’t going to be precise. But there’s no good reason why these apps have such poor hourly forecasts. Meteorologists should be able to predict the weather for the next few hours. All too often, I found myself getting soaked when the forecast had a 0% chance of rain. I got fed up and decided to look outside of the App Store for my weather information.

Let’s face it, most iPhone users are mired in the App Store. There’s a huge focus on apps, partly because Apple has control over that experience. The Web isn’t really owned by anyone, however, Google does dominate Internet search and advertising. Apple’s competition with Google has resulted in a lopsided view of mobile computing, where apps offer limited glimpses of the Internet. For example, a weather app actually connects to the Internet to get its data. A lot of apps are simply thin clients that communicate with servers on the Internet. Instead of using just one app, a browser, to view web sites, native apps take up space on your device, often to accomplish the same task.

Apple has far more control over apps. They can reject apps from the App Store for various reasons. They are notoriously fickle when it comes to accepting and rejecting apps. Apple can enforce user interface guidelines, making the experience uniform, stale and homogeneous. They can’t control what you can do with your web browser, other than limiting the type of browsers available in the App Store.

Although your iPhone has a powerful processor capable of running a fully featured web browser, Apple forces all browsers to use their WebKit rendering engine. It doesn’t matter whether you use Safari, Chrome or virtually any other browser, they all must use WebKit. They all have Safari “guts”. The problem is that WebKit isn’t very good. This may be intentional. After all, why put a lot of resources into web browsers, when Apple prefers that customers use apps instead?

One unfortunate consequence of this app-centric existence is that there are really no good weather apps in the App Store. I’m sure some readers will object to this statement, but I have tried them all. They all tend to have inaccurate data and forecasts. Sometimes I wonder, when I use these apps, do the meteorologists work in a windowless office? Just look outside, and one can see it is raining, but the current conditions show it’s not. This has happened too many times. If you’re looking for a reliable weather forecast, don’t look in the App Store. Look on the web. (continue…)

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