The Weather Channel gets it right on iOS

The Weather Channel is a free weather-monitoring application that provides many more features than Apple's built-in Weather app.

The Weather Channel is a free weather-monitoring application that provides many more features than Apple's built-in Weather app. Released first in 2008, the app recently received a complete overhaul to the interface, adding features that make it even easier to check weather conditions wherever you are.

You can find paid weather applications that are more specialized, but The Weather Channel (sponsored by the cable channel of the same name) offers the features most people want in a weather app. You can view forecasts (hourly, 36-hour, and 10-day outlooks), quick access to Weather Channel local and regional video forecasts, severe weather alerts, and a dynamic map, which you can use to see everything from rainfall to "feels like" temperatures and the UV index. You can also set favorites and go back to recent locations which makes The Weather Channel a little more useful on GPS-enabled devices.

Version 5.0 brings with it a complete overhaul to the interface. The new layout offers an elegant Home screen, adorned with wallpaper that matches the current conditions (blue skies, rain, and snow,), lets you swipe between locations, search for other cities, and toggle a drop-down box filled with details like wind, humidity, visibility, and the UV index. Especially useful is the ability to swipe directly to the weather information specific to your area (using what TWC calls TruPoint forecasting technology), giving you the weather not just for your region, but an accurate forecast for your actual location.

The only drawback to The Weather Channel app is an ad banner across the top of every screen. Unfortunately, Weather Channel Max (the $3.99 paid version) has not yet been updated with the new interface. So while you'll lose the ads by paying, you may have to wait awhile for the Max app to be updated so you can take advantage of the new interface layout.

Hard-core weather junkies won't find everything they want here, but The Weather Channel app is a great option for planning your week, staying dry, and deciding what to pack for a trip. Anyone who wants a better weather app for the iPhone or a big upgrade to the existing interface should download this app immediately.

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