It may seem odd to choose a weather app as my favorite on Apple’s smallest screen, but this is actually one of the more useful categories on the Watch. Well, it should be, anyway. Unfortunately, many of the name brand watchOS weather apps fall somewhere between “meh” and flaming hot garbage right now. The Weather Channel’s app description on the App Store still refers to Glances, which have been gone for over a year now, so that should give you a good idea of the state of things.
I’ve used Weather Underground, The Weather Channel, and AccuWeather at different times, and they all have issues. They are all slow. Sometimes the Complications won’t update or just stop working. I’ve never seen any evidence that they have been made compatible with the Apple Watch’s Dock, which should keep them up to date in the background. Usually when I open any of the above, it’s a waiting game, and that is most definitely not what I am looking for. That was understandable in watchOS 1, but that excuse is LONG gone.
Now we have the new issue of Cellular support for the Watch, as well. When I tested Weather Underground and Yahoo, their updating icons never left the screen. However, it does appear that The Weather Channel and Weather Live updated their apps to support a direct Internet connection, so that’s some progress, at least.
I’m not sure why I never bit the bullet and tries CARROT Weather before now. I guess that WU and AccuWeather are good enough as free offerings on the iPhone that I didn’t see the need. That, and my expectations for the Watch version weren’t that high based on past experiences with other apps. However, I finally took the plunge a week ago before a trip and I have been very pleasantly surprised by my experience with it so far.
I find it a little sad that basic competency can make an Apple Watch app stand out this much, but CARROT is head and shoulders above everything else I’ve tried because it does the small things well. It is fast. VERY fast. It is generally pretty up to date when I open it, but even if I see a spinning wheel, that is short-lived. Within a few seconds I have my updated current conditions. The Complication also updates often enough to be very useful.
It really irritates me that Apple came up with a great system to keep a user’s favored apps up to date with the Watch’s Dock, and many devs don’t bother to update their offerings to insure compatibility. Thankfully, CARROT is an exception to this, as I usually see the same values reflected live in the Dock that I see on the Complication. They update every 30 minutes according to the developer, so that would indicate that the app in the Dock is updating on a similar schedule.
I also love how much useful information you can get to very quickly with CARROT.
Scrolling down from the current conditions, I get an overview of the next few hours, and then my seven day forecast. There is much more data available by tapping on either the current conditions, or a day in the forecast.
Also, if you subscribe at the Premium level ($3.99 per year), you can customize the layout of the Watch App.
You can also add Watch Complications with a premium subscription.
You can also completely customize how they appear on different styles of Watch faces, which is a great and very flexible feature. AccuWeather has actually had this capability for a while now, but I had issues with their Complications hanging up and not updating, so the feature ultimately didn’t do me any good. I’ve had no such issues with CARROT, so far.
If you ask most people about CARROT Weather, they are going to talk about the Dark Sky integration and the “snark.” If you aren’t aware, this app is inhabited by a human-hating AI bent on weather domination. While I say come for the features, the comments are definitely an amusing diversion. This is especially true on the iPhone and iPad, where they are delivered in a voice that sounds a lot like the original Siri. I’ve even kept the “snark” text on my Watch app because they just add a little bit of fun to the boring task of delivering the weather. However, subscribers who want to maximize space can replace them with something. more useful.
As for Dark Sky, it’s a great weather app in its own right. However, it sure feels a little dry and stale next to CARROT. I’ll take my up to the minute precipitation predictions with a side of snark, thank you. You also get the benefit of Dark Sky’s detailed notifications for precipitation and severe weather with CARROT, as well. For those who prefer Weather Underground and their longer range ten day forecasts, the Ultra Premium ($9.99 per year) subscription will get you access to their data, instead of Dark Sky. However, you still get the benefit of Dark Sky’s notifications if you switch.
Yes, I did say the S-word: Subscriptions. CARROT is a paid app ($4.99) that also charges subscription fees. However, I can understand why they do. As someone who builds Energy Management Systems and Dashboards for a living, I can tell you from experience that weather data costs cold, hard cash. Past a certain number of calls, you pay for every one after. Since a Watch Complication is going to hit a server over 50 times a day, I can understand why the extra charge is there for those who want the extra functionality.
As a Watch user who wants to see more apps of this caliber available for watchOS, I have NO problem paying $4.99 plus $9.99 per year. That money is supporting a developer who took the time that others in his field didn’t to make a great app. CARROT Weather works like I want every Watch app to work. It’s fast, it’s flexible, and it’s reliable. When you consider how few apps on the platform we can say this about, it’s easy to see why this is now my favorite app on the Watch, hands down. If you love a good weather app like me, then you definitely need to take a look at CARROT Weather.
CARROT Weather was purchased by the author for review on iPad Insight. For further information regarding our site’s review policies, please see the About page.