A few of the apps that are included out-of-the-box with the iPhone are conspicuously absent on the iPad. Among these are the weather, calculator, and stock price apps. Fortunately, third-party developers have already provided several options as alternatives to these missing apps in the App Store. For weather hounds, there are a couple of free weather apps (although one is only temporarily free) that can handily fill the gap left by Apple.
WeatherBug Elite (Introductory price: free)
For the iPhone, WeatherBug (free) and WeatherBug Elite ($.99) have proven to be very popular, consistently ranking in the top 20 apps in their respective categories. WeatherBug Elite for iPad became available on the iPad’s launch day, and it’s currently free though its App Store description notes that this is a temporary special. Its price history given on AppShopper shows that it cost $4.99 when it was first added to the App Store and then was reduced to $.99, so it’s real price after the current special could be anywhere in between those two price points.
With the iPad’s larger screen, WeatherBug Elite is able to show at least initial information about everything that required several screens to see in the iPhone app.
The bulk of the screen shows the local map, with several overlays from which to choose. The map can be animated with the small play button in the lower left hand corner.
Panes shown at the top or right side depending on the iPad’s orientation provide information on current conditions, local webcams, the forecast, weather alerts, and the WeatherBug video. Tapping on any of these panes brings it to the center of the screen where the information can be browsed in more detail.
Several locations can be added to the menu, making it easy to browse the weather information for multiple locations without needing to search for them each time.
The Weather Channel has also offered iPhone apps for quite some time though its Weather Channel app has not been as popular as WeatherBug as shown by App Store rankings.
The Weather Channel Max for iPad app takes a different approach to presenting information. You must select a location first (or let the app find your current location). After this, a splash screen with six options appears.
The Maps button shows exactly what you’d expect to see and multiple overlays are available using a pop-up menu in the lower left corner.
The Local button gives forecast information plus panes at the bottom that take you to content shown by the other buttons, like video and severe weather alerts. The same content is available from multiple areas within the app – for example, the tweets shown in the Social section can also be accessed in the Local section. This redundancy feels a bit awkward and unnecessary.
Available video content includes forecast, news, and storm videos, as well as episodes of the The Weather Channel’s Epic Conditions television series.
Compared to WeatherBug Elite, the Weather Channel app doesn’t present as much information at a single glance but it does offer more content overall, albeit in a somewhat repetitive manner. Despite their different approaches to displaying information, both apps are very cost-effective and informative options for iPad users looking for full-fledged weather apps.