Sunday, December 6, 2015

Pocket Weather AU for iOS Gets Disappointing Redesign Plus Apple Watch App

Pocket Weather Australia by ShiftyJelly PTY LTD has long been a favorite weather app for Australians. It was just recently updated with a totally new redesign, along with the new much anticipated Apple Watch app. But wait! Users who haven't updated yet, may not want to hit that button too quickly. This update has left some users not too happy with the change and for what I think is good reasons. 

If you use Pocket Weather Australia, you'll know the app for its great design and more accurate weather information (than the stock iOS app) - right down to your local suburb. The app was designed for both iPhone and iPad, and used the real-estate advantages. The same can't be said for all of its previous positives in this latest update.

Gone is the great graphical weather images for a very minimal design, with a lot of white space and very basic weather icons. The new design also feels less intuitive - even with its very simple Google looking card system. Like tapping the today section card will open more in-depth information, however there is no indicator of this feature. There are also inconsistencies that don't make a lot of sense - like rounded up/down weather temperatures and showing the 'correct value' in different areas. I also experienced crashes and freezing while performing simple actions like adding a city or trying to load the weather.

The iPad app is also a let down compared to its previous version. Before the iPad made use of the larger display, however now, it's basically the same exact iPhone app on a larger plain background. It's clear that this redesigned version has taken design cues from Google, over Apple. 

On thing that many people were waiting for was a Apple Watch app to replace the  usually incorrect iOS weather app. But this app has its let downs too. While there is a complication you can add to the Watch face, it will not show the current live temperature - instead it'll show the days max and condition. Tapping the complication will take you to the Pocket Weather Australia Apple Watch app. 

The Watch app shows some more useful information for when you're on the go, like; current temperature, the day's predicted high and low, and the weeks temperature overview. Missing info that would be useful is; the Feels Like temperature, hourly/upcoming rain info, ability to switch through different cities/towns and a reload button for when the app fails to refresh, which in my experience, happens -  there has definitely been some updating issues. 

While it's still the same great app that pulls weather information from the Bureau of Meteorology, maybe with a few issues or bugs, this version feels a lot like a step backwards. Honestly, a hybrid of the before and after, I think, would look a lot better. Bring back the old weather graphics for the header, keep the simple new interface maybe with some adjustments and make better use of the iPad's larger screen size. 

Pocket Weather Australia is priced at AU$2.99 in the App Store. The new redesign and Apple Watch app update is free for existing users. 


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