Boreas ($1.99) by Hephaestus is a unique way to look at the weather.
The app’s philosophy is that weather shouldn’t just be shown in numbers. And with that in mind, Boreas is actually pretty good.
You get a pretty animation of the current weather conditions that essentially takes up the entire screen. If you tap on the screen, you will bring up the current location and temperature at the top, and date and time on the bottom. You can actually swipe your finger to the left or right on the animated weather scene to move to a different time in the day. Doing this will change the background, allowing you to see what the weather was like earlier or later on.
If you swipe down on the screen, you will bring up some additional details. There are four “pages” that will display information in a large, easy-to-read format. You’ll get: temperature (Actual and Feels Like), precipitation (chance, amount, and cloud cover), wind (wind and gust speed, direction), and astronomy info. While this is some nice additional info, it just covers the very basic stuff, so this app wouldn’t appeal to those that want even more details.
Now, how about when you want to add specific locations? This part is a little unintuitive, so it would be nice to see it improved in the future. Currently, in order to add specific locations, you swipe up on the screen to bring up the Places panel. It’s split into two sections: Favorites, and Map. You’ll have to go to Map, then tap on the magnifying glass to search for a location. Once the location is pulled up, a green pin will drop on the map (red is your current location, purple are previously saved locations). Tap on the green pin, and then the option to star it will show up. You can also tap-and-hold the pin to drag it to another location, if you wish. When you save locations, they can be accessed via the Star tab.
When you want to switch between locations, you will have to access the Places panel and select the location from the Star view. While it’s not that hard, it’s also extra steps just to switch. I’m used to a button in Shine that allows me to navigate through all of my saved locations, without the need to manually select which one I want to see. I would like to see a more intuitive and faster way to switch between multiple locations in Boreas.
There are settings that are accessible through the detailed views. Here, you can pick between 24-hour time or a.m./p.m., celsius or fahrenheit, millimeter or inch, and km/h or mph or Bft.
I did encounter a glitch though, where instead of the double-tap taking me to the current time (as it should), it took me to some time early in the morning when it’s currently the afternoon. On other times when I had the app open, the double-tap would take me to the current time. Not sure why this glitch occurs, but it would be nice to have it fixed in an update.
My biggest gripe is with the actual temperatures. For example, currently, Boreas is telling me that it is 50 degrees fahrenheit out. However, when I check the temperature on my iPhone 4S with the weather widget in Notification Center, it is 66 degrees. Even Shine displays 66 degrees. This is a disparity of 16 degrees, so it’s not really a minor difference. Not sure why, but hopefully Boreas can get more accurate temperature readings.
In its current iteration, Boreas is pretty but lacks functionality, and more importantly, accuracy. I would hold off on this app until these issues are amended. There is potential though, and I look forward to seeing what the developers can deliver.