It’s been said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and I’d venture to say that most iPhone owners would agree that the stock weather app is anything but beautiful. Aesthetics police it’s time to lock up this repeat offender, for the folks at Tiny Mammal have produced Weather Doodle, which is quite possibly the most artistically stunning and stylish weather app I’ve seen to date. From papercraft suns to cardboard clouds, its almost like holding a virtual weather diorama in your hands. The app features amazing animated artwork that not only changes with the weather, but the time of day as well. The unfortunate ubiquitous “doodle” moniker just doesn’t do the artwork justice. In fact there is nothing remotely doodle about it and the app should have really been called something like Artistic Weather or Weather Craft or some other name reflecting the true pedigree of its fine visuals.
Included with the 99¢ app is the gorgeous Paperscape theme, but users have the ability to purchase additional 99¢ themes as well. As of this review, there was just one alternate theme available for purchase, Printmaker, which is n artistic color-block print on wood style. The developer has said that more themes are on the way and they have received a number of theme suggestions from current users ranging from vikings & 8-bit to tattoos and puppet shows. I think this is a great idea and I’d definitely be on board for an 8-bit theme, but I would like to see discounted multi-theme packs as well as the single theme purchases and a way to see a demo of a theme within the app before purchase.
As I said earlier Weather Doodle is easily a “better looking” weather app, but as far as outright better, I’m not so sure. That’s because other than the fantastic looking graphics, Weather Doodle really doesn’t offer users anything more feature-wise than the stock (aka free) weather app that comes included with iPhone. You can add locations and get the current weather for that location, or you can get a 5-day forecast for any particular location…that’s pretty much it. Instead of being powered by the Weather Channel (like the standard app), Weather Doodle is backed by Weather Bug’s API and weather data, so it does give you the ability to choose an individual weather station for increased accuracy. From what I experienced, there wasn’t much difference between the forecasts of the stock iPhone weather app and Weather Doodle. I did notice that Weather Doodle was perhaps a tiny bit slower retrieving the updated weather data than the standard iPhone app, but not enough to be a nuisance.
In all honesty, I hardly ever use the the standard weather app, because it just doesn’t provide enough detail for me. I’m an hourly weather kind of guy. Living and commuting in New England, I want to know exactly when the next snow storm is supposed to start and stop. So for me, Weather Doodle, while a joy to look at, just doesn’t offer enough detail for my needs. Since it employs the Weather Bug API under the covers I’m hopeful that some day it could be updated to include hourly data, but for now I guess I’ll be sticking with the Weather Channel mobile site for my forecasts. On the flipside, my wife is completely satisfied with the basic data that both the standard weather app and Weather Doodle provide, so it really comes down to a matter of individual taste.
If you are a regular user of the stock iPhone weather app and are happy with its tired and boring visuals, then frankly there is really no need to purchase this app. On the other hand, if you want to add some style to your weather, then Weather Doodle would be an excellent upgrade. Even if bad weather has got you down, Weather Doodle’s whimsical, animated visuals can’t help but bring a little smile to your face. Just grab a buck from your “rainy day” fund…99¢ is a small price to pay for a piece of art.