Perhaps no app category has been as spectacularly affected by the app revolution as weather. Once a mere statistic, weather now is represented by a plethora of apps and widgets, rich in color and graphics. You have live wallpapers that show the weather, lock screens that serve up temperatures and notifications that lurk in the notification bar, telling you when you need to step out with an umbrella in tow. And of course, if you are a real weather fetishist, you can even request for regular push notifications about the weather, just like e-mail. In most cases, without having to part with any cash.
So why on earth are we talking about Haze, a weather app that costs $2.99, and is available for a “limited period” at a reduced price of $0.99? Well, because while it does pretty much what other apps of its ilk do and actually does lesser than many, it does so with an elegance that is nothing short of amazing, and is very reminiscent of other minimalistic apps like Clear, and tips the scales at a very low 4.4 MB.
The magic of the app becomes clear (pun intended, hah!) the moment you launch it. You will be greeted with nothing as exotic as rain drops or clouds or thunder and lightning but instead with a figure indicating the existing temperature inside a circle, with a wave-like animation in the background. Pull down the app gently from the top, and you see figures in five boxes on the top of the app indicating the expected temperature over the next five days. So basically, you launch the app and see the temperature within a few seconds. The wave-like animation indicates an impending increase if moving upwards and a decrease if moving downwards.
Tap the circle with the temperature inside it and you will see five other smaller circles emerge from it containing information like the highest temperature of the day, the lowest temperature, what it feels like, the speed of the wind and its direction. Swipe to the right and you will see data about humidity and the chances of rain similarly represented – one central circle, tapping which reveals other smaller circles with information. Swipe to the left from the temperature screen and you get data about sunlight – the time of sunrise and sunset, ultraviolet rays and so on. In each case, the animation in the background indicates a rise or a decline in the coming time, and of course, you have information about the next five days in boxes at the top.
Pull the lower part of the app upwards and you are told when the data was last updated. And if you feel so inclined, give the upper part of the app a really long tug to reveal the settings and activate tilt control which lets you check each of the three weather elements covered by just tilting your device in one direction and the other.
No, you cannot get detailed information about the weather on forthcoming days – you only get a single figure for temperature, rain or sunlight. And you cannot get any alerts either. All of which makes Haze seem a bit lightweight when compared to other information-laden apps. But then, none of those other worthies actually delivers information as elegantly and as simply. Just one glance and a few swipes of the screen will tell you what the temperature, rainfall and sunlight situation is. You can also customize the theme of the app if you wish and fiddle with the units. The animations are fluid and soothing to the eye, and the app generally works at a decent clip.
That’s about it and if you like it not, well, you can keep your money inside your wallet. We must confess, however, that we love the simple elegance of the app and its broadly gesture-based interface. Yes, information addicts will scorn it but if all you want is an idea of what the weather is and what it is likely to be. With minimum fuss and through a pleasantly minimal interface, Haze is worth a try. Especially at its reduced price tag.
Available from: iTunes App Store