WTHR Is The Weather App Dieter Rams Would Have Designed

WTHR

Look at it. Just look at it.

Want to quickly check the weather on your iPhone? Want to have your eyes soothed by wonderful, minimal design at the same time as you’re informed of the temperature outside? Then you need WTHR, an iPhone app which could have been designed by Dieter Rams himself.

WTHR is as minimal as its vowel-free name suggests, and its designer David Elgena actually based it on Rams’ 10 Principles of Design. The app is so simple that it has just two buttons, only one of which needs to be used on a regular basis.

When firing up the app for the first time in a while, or hitting the round-arrow-shaped update button, the dial at the top of the screen wobbles and settles into place, much like the dial on a bathroom scale. On it are various weather conditions, and it settles on the current one (sunny here in Barcelona, predictably). At the bottom are ranged the conditions and temperature predictions for the coming week, along with a switch to choose the Fahrenheit or Celsius scales.

And that’s it. There is no more to this beautiful app, and I have taken to opening it up instead of the excellent WeatherPro when I just need to check how hot it will be tomorrow (answer: too hot, and sunny. Again).

If, back in the dark days before the iPhone existed, Elgena had offered this as an actual mechanical box, I would have bought it. As a $1 iPhone app, though, it took me about two seconds to decide to buy it after seeing the screenshots, or roughly the time it took me to find the App Store link.

  • joewaylo

    Looks pretty cool and simple. I might give it a whirl later on.

    Though, I just say “Siri: How hot is it outside?”

  • speedmaster

    The thing is so beautiful, I almost don’t even care if it works. ;-)

  • totaji

    Cool looking display, but I put it on my iTouch and it doesn’t work. It loads and gives the display but no temp. There is no icon in the settings menu and no settings button on the app display. What am I missing?

  • speedmaster

    Hmmm. Since I installed it the GPS/Location Services arrow on my 4S looks to be on constantly, with expected battery rundown.

  • mr_bee

    Great app, bought it immediately. One giant flaw though is the “Celsius vs. Fahrenheit” button. One of Dieter’s main principles is definitely being violated with that switch.

    Most users will only need to touch that button once in their entire lives, but it occupies the most prominent place in the entire app as if it’s a control that you need to access daily. Very bad choice that, but otherwise a great app.

  • EA_009

    I personally dislike this design. It looks old fashioned and it makes the iPhone look like a 60s toy. But I agree that this will be a great hit for people who love the “retro stuff” and miss the past. Even those who didn’t live in the 60s but still miss it.

  • swotam

    The design is nice however the app has several annoyances and bugs that need resolving before it can be considered properly baked.

    The Celsius/Fahrenheit switch is too big considering that it’s a set once thing, however in the current version of the app your preference is not retained after your force quit the app or reboot your device.

    The contrast on the 7 day forecast is very hard to read unless you have your brightness way up. The ability to adjust this, or a developer modification to the white on grey and grey on grey color scheme is required.

    The app doesn’t release location services so it will run constantly and kill your battery. You can turn this off in Location services and still get weather updates for the last known location but this isn’t an ideal solution.

    The app doesn’t seem to recognize when it’s nighttime, so at midnight it still says it’s Sunny outside as opposed to Clear or something more appropriate for overnight.

    The app doesn’t seem particularly accurate compared to the stock iOS app, and it usually reports different data, but then it’s probably using a different source as well so I suppose differences should be expected.

    After rebooting your iOS device, the app won’t work properly until around 3 minutes after the restart. Weird.

    The developer is @davidelgena and is responsive on Twitter. He’s working on fixes for the Location antenna issue since this is the major one at this point.

    I will say that for $0.99 it’s a very nice looking app and I’d recommend it since the current issues will be fixed shortly and you’ll get what you want from the app in pretty short order.

  • speedmaster

    >> “The app doesn’t release location services so it will run constantly and kill your battery. You can turn this off in Location services and still get weather updates for the last known location but this isn’t an ideal solution”

    Yeah, I’m running into that as well.

  • DavidElgena

    Yup! I’m working on the location fix now…should be available next week as an update. Thanks!

  • Brandon Dillon

    I am so pleased with this app. @swotam addressed some good points, if they are true. I’d say the releasing of location services should be a top priority for the next update, but judging from David Elgena’s Twitter, he sounds like he is on top of it.

    This may not sound like a big deal to most, but this app has made it to my front page on my iPhone as my default weather application. The only change I would make would be to touch the weekly forecast to bring up an hourly/daily forecast, but I can also appreciate the minimalism and the simplistic nature of the app as it is, which would be somewhat tainted if it was to be bogged down with loads of extra functionality.

  • speedmaster

    I am so pleased with this app. @swotam addressed some good points, if they are true. I’d say the releasing of location services should be a top priority for the next update, but judging from David Elgena’s Twitter, he sounds like he is on top of it.

    Agreed. This thing is very slick. Once he gets the location services thing licked I’m all over it.

  • johanna62

    I am having the same issue as pp totaji. I do not have a twitter account and have not found a way to contact developer directly to let him know of the issue.

  • danieldantastic

    It’s beautiful, but it doesn’t do the one thing I need a weather app to do, which is to see the weather forecast for the day. I live in NYC, where the weather when I wake up can be drastically different than the weather when I go to lunch, leave work, meet up with friends for dinner, etc. If the forecast had the option to be hourly (via a swipe or something non-intrusive), I’d buy it in a heartbeat.

About the author

Charlie Sorrel Charlie Sorrel is the Reviews Editor here on Cult of Mac. Follow Charlie  on Twitter at @mistercharlie.

(sorry, you need Javascript to see this e-mail address)| Read more posts by .

Posted in News | Tagged: , , , , , , , |