BBC Weather for iPhone review - enjoy the sun with new, free BBC app
The BBC has a clear advantage over almost all other app providers when launching something new on the Apple iTunes App Store - visibility. Thanks to a brand normally associated with quality and the ability to offer free ad space on TV and radio to promote it, BBC Weather is already enjoying some high profile coverage including a prestigious Apple Editors' Choice pick. It's a good start for a new app that seemed a long time coming, one that faces strong competition in a category that is seemingly always popular with iPhone users keen to keep an eye on the UK's inconsistent weather. Indeed, the BBC notes the introduction of dedicated apps for iOS and Android devices follows a huge increase in users accessing its weather forecasts from mobile devices over the last year. Impressively, in the first two weeks of release, BBC Weather enjoyed one million downloads across two platforms - iOS and Android.
At first launch and over 3G, BBC Weather didn't quite find our location, rather one a good ten minute hike away, but close enough to expect the weather to be similar, if not the same. Weather data is provided in association with the Met Office, who offer weather and climate change forecasts for the UK and worldwide. As a result, BBC Weather currently offers location aware 48 hours of UK based hourly forecasts along with five-day forecasts. The good news is this has been accurate across the first month of launch, as we checked very mixed conditions - sun, rain, wind and even the promise of snow - on our travels across the UK. Within the beautiful, intuitive design is some useful additional data including hourly based visibility, humidity, pressure, wind direction and wind speed information, along with important UV details including for those many sufferers - pollen count. BBC Weather offers the ability to search and save favourite locations and then swipe vertically to view them individually, a great idea for planning a journey or bragging/moaning to friends or family from afar.
The clean, clear user-friendly interface means BBC Weather currently lacks many of the extras that make weather watching more interactive, and even entertaining. Currently the settings only cover how you want temperature and wind speed to be displayed, Celsius or Fahrenheit, Miles per hour or Kilometres per hour. The app lacks maps, interactive maps, animations and videos, while the ability to see weather data across an entire journey on one page is also regretfully missing. While currently enjoying a mini-heatwave, BBC Weather would clearly benefit from the ability to offer severe weather alerts and warnings. We would also like to see a way to share data easily from within the app, via text, email, Facebook, Twitter and the like.
Better late than never, BBC Weather is a useful, attractive addition to the wealth of weather related apps currently available to iPhone users, one that restores a little faith in the broadcaster following the lamentable BBC Sport app. While there are more detailed and varied weather apps available, the BBC's latest app wins out for ease of use and clarity.