Celsius for iOS review
Some may scoff at the need for a built-in app on the iPhone to tell you about current weather conditions - there's this fantastic new invention called a window that you can look out of and see what the weather's like - but I find it quite useful. Will I need a coat when I go outside or is it warm enough for a short-sleeved shirt? Just how hot is it right now? Just a few taps, and I can get exact temperature information I couldn't gather with just the naked eye.
There's one problem, though - those few taps. To actually get that at-a-glance information, I've got to launch the built-in Weather app, wait for it to load, and then find out how hot or cold it currently is. That's not a huge investment of time, obviously, but I'd like to be able to just glance at my phone to get the temperature as easily as I do the time.
That's the main problem this app - full name 'Celsius - Weather & Temperature on your Home Screen' - looks to solve. The universal app from International Travel Weather Calculator pushes the current temperature to the home screen of your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad - the temperature, which is tied to your home location, appears as an alert badge over the Celsius logo, just like the alert badges that appear on apps like Messages and Mail.
But Celsius delivers more than just a home-screen temperature. Launch the app, and you'll find a wealth of weather information - including current conditions, humidity and pressure; a 10-day forecast; the wind speed and direction; sunrise and sunset times, and a UV index, among other data. Tap an individual day, and you'll get the forecast in three-hour blocks.
The Celsius icon (top left) puts the current temperature on your home screen in the form of an alert badge
The content is about as extensive as what you'll find in Weather+, another International Travel Weather Calculator app, although that offering provides a more polished interface than what you'll get with Celsius. Still, Celsius is still an easy-to-navigate app with data that's as readable on the iPhone as it is on the iPad.
If you somehow find the wealth of weather info contained in Celsius inadequate, a 59p in-app purchase adds three-hour rain, satellite, and wind, speed maps. (Three-hour temperature and cloud maps come standard with the app.) The add-ons are decent, although hardly indispensable. If you're really into radar imagery, a more dedicated app such as Radar Scope will probably be more to your liking. Still, it's nice of Celsius to offer access to such data at a fraction of the cost.
As its name would imply, Celsius only gives the temperature in one scale. If you live in a country that favours Fahrenheit or you simply abhor Anders Celsius and all he stood for, the developer offers Fahrenheit. That app is a feature-for-feature match with Celsius [indeed, we should point out that Philip Michaels originally wrote this review about Fahrenheit for a US audience], except for one difference that should be screamingly obvious.
As with the built-in Weather app, you can add multiple cities in Celsius. (I'm not sure how many exactly - I added 15 cities before I got bored. Add too many, though, and the navigational cues at the bottom of the screen become a little tough to negotiate.) That's a nice feature, but it also brings up Celsius's biggest shortcoming - one that's really out of the developer's control. The home-screen temperature will only be tied to one location you designate in the settings screen; because of limitations in the current version of iOS, that temperature won't change to reflect your location.
It's not a deal-breaker by any means and, as I said, it's out of the developer's hands anyway.
Celsius is a marginal improvement over the built-in Weather app when, with a more accommodating operating system, it could be a substantial improvement. Still, for 59p, the convenience of a home-screen temperature and the depth of information contained within the app itself makes Celsius a solid addition to your iPhone or iPod touch. And on the iPad, which doesn't come with a default Weather app, Celsius is a great, low-cost, high-value option.