Apple Watch apps are not great advocates for their product. In fact, most of them aren't even good citizens on their product — while doing research for my annual "Best Apple Watch apps" list (coming to an iMore near you next week!), I stopped mid-writing to pen a second article about all the not-so-great apps showcased on the platform. It's a surprising amount, and many of them are from fairly respected developers on the iPhone.
I'm telling you now: Those developers should take a good, hard look at Carrot Weather. Brian Mueller and his evil snarky AI genius CARROT have created a masterpiece in the app's new Apple Watch component. It's an easily-readable weather app with all the snark of its iPhone companion, and it does so while still offering tons of data to interested users without being slow, buggy, or constantly crashing.
Supercharging the update
Even before its redesign, Carrot Weather's Apple Watch app was decent — along with Just Press Record, it was one of the few third-party watch apps I actively recommended to friends picking up a new Apple Watch.
But this update has made a few crucial changes that elevate the app from good to great. It's faster, taking advantage of all the API goodies and CPU power the Series 3 Apple Watch can provide. That means faster load times for weather along with secondary screens like forecast data and radar — though the latter still suffers a bit on initial load due to actively downloading imagery from the internet.
As a result of building a fully-compatible watchOS 4 app, Carrot also incorporates the operating system's latest features — like the speaker. Yes, Carrot's snarky weather flavor-text can now be read aloud to you if you so choose; it's already brought me a slew of delighted public reactions (something we've been at a loss for as of late with all of the drama happening in the world).
And it's beautiful. The design is a hyper-minimalist version of Carrot's iPhone app, with smart font choices to make at-a-glance weather readings fast and simple (like thicker numbers for hotter weather, and thinner numbers for colder weather). Colors are bright and used effectively. There aren't any impossibly-tiny buttons to mash your finger into on a 38mm watch.
Carrot is also one of the only watch applications I've seen that offers both customizable complications and app display inside its parent iPhone app: There are four completely empty slots you can customize for the watch app, which can display things like the temperature in Celsius, highs and lows, wind speed, precipitation, barometrics, and more. You can also choose to customize your weather flavortext (from Snark to far more practical options) as well as the length of your extended forecast (though Carrot does note that the longer the extended forecast, the longer the app's load time).
It's a smart way to ensure everyone gets what they need out of their watch's weather app without having to hide too much data under menus and tapping and Force Touch gestures. I applaud Mueller for the move — it's one I hope to see many more watch app developers embracing.
One of the few features hidden under a Force Press is the optional radar feature, available only with an Ultrapremium subscription ($9.99/year); the cost is primarily data-based, as the feature pulls information from Weather Underground rather than Dark Sky, and the former service is quite a bit pricier to include in an app.
As I mention above, radar does take a bit longer to load than anything else on the Apple Watch app, but it's worth it to view an easy-to-read 30-minute map on your wrist. I've tried quite a number of weather apps on my watch, and none attempt radar so gracefully as Carrot Weather (and, quite frankly, none of them really work).
Carrot Weather is $4.99 on the App Store. If you care at all about good weather data on your Apple Watch, this is the app to get. If you care about app development on your Apple Watch, doubly so. And if you care about snarky assistants telling you that clouds look like baby sloths, well… I think you two are going to be very happy together.
Serenity was formerly the Managing Editor at iMore, and now works for Apple. She's been talking, writing about, and tinkering with Apple products since she was old enough to double-click. In her spare time, she sketches, sings, and in her secret superhero life, plays roller derby. Follow her on Twitter @settern.
By Tammy Rogers