Fahrenheit is a weather app for both the iPad and iPhone that uses the icon badge notification functionality of apps to display the current weather temperature in fahrenheit on your Home Screen. If you put the Fahrenheit app is inside of a folder, you will see the number on top of the folder icon. The developer makes a similar product called Celsius ($0.99) for people using that weather scale. The idea behind using the badge icon for weather is something brand new that gives Fahrenheit a coolness factor over other weather apps. The fact that the app also has a nicely polished user interface helps its chances as well. Fahrenheit gets its numbers from Foreca and they are pretty accurate when they are up-to-date. However, as it stands now the app reports outdated data, as I’ll explain below.
When you open up the Fahrenheit app for the first time, you need to enter a new location for it to retrieve weather data. Once you have it configured, you can close the app and you’ll see the red badge icon with the number of weather at all times. When you open the app it grabs updated data and refreshes them to show you a 9 day forecast. Tap on any day and the app scrolls down a full list of weather data including UV INDEX, Wind, Sunrise, Sunset, Precipitation info and Hourly forecasts.
There is an in-app purchase of $0.99 which gives you satellite maps and rain and wind radar maps. You can pick from either a light or dark colored theme to show your weather info. You can add multiple cities and pick which one you want to use as your Home Screen city. You can then flip through your various cities just like you can do so in the native iPhone weather app.
The idea behind Fahrenheit is original but, it currently falls short in terms of delivery. First of all, the data is not refreshed, or at least not frequently enough when the app is closed. This means the number you see on the badge icon is almost always inaccurate. For example, right now it’s early in the morning, and the app has a reading of 92 degrees on the icon, which is off by about 30 degrees. When you open the app up, it does fetch new data and update the number, but having to open the app to get data out goes against the selling point of the app in the first place.
The other thing that bothers me about Fahrenheit is the fact that it always has to tell you the weather in the city that you’ve configured. This is fine until you start moving around. So when you’re in a different city it would be more useful if the app pulled your location and then pulled the weather for the city you are in. If not then at least least having that as an option would be nice.
My final issue with the Fahrenheit app is purely personal. For me, seeing the badge number on the screen makes me nervous, as it has become synonymous with “action items”. The iOS has conditioned me that way. Anytime I see that red circle there is a moment of anxiety. It normally means I have to respond to new emails, and or act on a to-do item. This might not bother some people, but for me it’s just plain annoying. Perhaps there should be an option to hide the badge number. To me it’s useless especially since the data is stale most of the time anyhow.
Overall, I have to give the developer a ton of credit for coming up with this unique idea. Also if you have an iPad, Fahrenheit could be used as your weather app of choice there. Fix the outdated data issue and you’ll have a great product.
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