Anyone familiar with Android may well have come across LevelUp Studio. They are responsible for the excellent Twitter client Plume and the extremely popular Beautiful Widgets. Excellent apps for Android users, and now they have brought at least part of Beautiful Widgets to iOS with their new weather application; Bright Weather for iPhone.
We're not short of weather applications on iOS, but I for one will happily welcome talented developers from other platforms into the iOS fold. It's a crowded space, but there's still room for a good application to stand out. So, is Bright Weather worth a look? Let's find out.
Bright Weather pulls in its data from Accuweather, but the UI is all their own. The main view is packed with information, yet doesn't feel at all cluttered. That's due in part to the large weather animation that sits front and center. That's where your current weather conditions are found: current temperature, daily highs and lows, the RealFeel and what sort of weather you're experiencing that day. Clouds float effortlessly behind all of this, and if you're lucky enough not to be in a dreary part of the UK, maybe even some sun.
Top of the display is your current location and time, along with the time since your last refresh. Down the bottom is a weekly forecast highlight. The menus for Bright Weather are all tucked away in a slide-out bar on the left hand side. Very Android like, but fits perfectly with the design of the app. It keeps everything tucked out of sight until you need it, and I like that. Inside the menu you'll find the settings, along with all the more specialised weather information.
One of these categories is an hourly breakdown of conditions for your location, for the current day. You get a temperature, a general conditions, and a windspeed. Another category that's interesting, is Lifestyle. This one gives you indicators on how suitable the weather is for a range of pursuits from mowing the lawn right up to going Skiing. Luckily, as you'll see here, I didn't much fancy going to the beach today as it's not great out. That and it's a 35 mile drive. If you're into seeing the moon phases, you're catered for too.
Settings are well catered for in Bright Weather. As you'd want, you can alter the units, clock, wind speed units, turn on the animations and set it to refresh on start. Nothing out of the ordinary, but all the important stuff is covered off. You can also manage your locations under a separate menu item, and removing one takes nothing more than a swipe and a tap.
So, what else is there to know? Well, Bright Weather is a free download from the App Store, with an optional in-app purchase of $0.99 to remove the ads. There's currently no iPad version, though the developer has confirmed to us that one is in the works, most likely as an update to the main app with a universal solution. A couple of the menu options, like 'More Info' take you out of the app and into Safari to the Accuweather website. The information is good to have, but its a disjointing experience to be taken away from the main app and into Safari to access it.
Bright Weather is an excellent start at developing for iOS from a well respected Android developer. Bright Weather is great to look at, quick at getting you the latest information and free to download. The ads don't really get in the way too much, but I liked it enough to pay to get rid pretty early on. The lack of iPad support is a tad frustrating, but we know that it's coming, so it's an inconvienience at the moment and nothing more. It'll look fantastic on the iPad when it arrives. Leaving the app to go into Safari is more frustrating though, and I do wish there was a better way of handling the information it takes you away to get.
It's a really nice app, and I've been thinking whether it'll replace my current go-to, Yahoo! Weather. It's quite possible, you get the same sort of information delivered in a slightly different, but still beautiful in its own right sort of way. I really hope LevelUp is here to develop for iOS for the long haul, we could see some great things from them.