Long the everynerd’s favorite weather app, Weather Line has finally managed to procure itself an update after nearly a year and a half of triggering vague memories and collecting dust in the App Store. Given the ample time between updates, one might have expected sweeping changes to the app — a visual overhaul perhaps, a sweet dark theme (so hot right now), an icon change, radar, or even just an Apple Watch or iPad app. No, none of that here, instead version 1.8 largely just brings Weather Line inline with iOS 10 — there’s a new widget, 3D Touch Quick Actions, and visual parity thanks to the San Francisco font, as well as various under the hood improvements that optimize the app’s performance and function.
Maybe it’s just me though having trouble squaring the time between updates and the scope of this update, because for Weather Line fans it seems that mere proof of life is enough to warrant excitement. To be fair, Weather Line has always been a fairly straightforward app — its calling card is clarity in presentation — and that remains true here, it’s really one of the best weather apps for instantly getting a grasp on your daily forecast, bells and whistles be damned, and version 1.8’s new lock screen widget just makes getting that forecast all the more easier.
Still, even accepting that this isn’t Weather Line 2.0 and allowing that a new widget and being optimized for iOS 10 are — well, worthy of a slow clap I suppose, I’m still not all that keen to recommend Weather Line. This is because Weather Line, deft as it is at displaying weather data, still gets that data via the Dark Sky API which I don’t find to be as accurate for forecasts or realtime data as Weather Underground. I can't say for sure whether this is because WU simply has a superior forecast model or because it is in part informed by an enormous network of personal weather stations (one of them almost assuredly closer to you than any NOAA station), but for me at least — WU has an edge on Dark Sky, though admittedly, YMMV.
Even if we put the APIs of these two apps aside, the Weather Underground app is vastly more informative than Weather Line, and yes I know what you’re thinking — maybe too informative? If that’s your mindset consider the screen shot above comparing the two apps’ lock screen widgets, WU’s is just as informative and to my eyes, just as glanceable. Don’t need all of WU’s bits and bobs? Bury it in a folder and stick with the widget — digestible, and accurate data, and more when you need it, that seems like a win/win/win to me.
Now I didn’t mean to rain on Weather Line’s parade here, it’s a nice app, now a bit nicer, and I’m glad to see its developer breathe new relevance into an old favorite. In the end though, Weather Line is just one of hundreds of Dark Sky skins in the App Store, and like the rest of them — only really as good as the API powering it.
Weather Line requires iOS 10.0 or later and is compatible with the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.