Whether the weather function on the iPhone is mocking us or trying to be accurate

Of all the iPhone functions this is perhaps the weakest and most valuable

Let's face it, the iPhone can do a whole bunch of things, some necessary (like talking, texting and emailing) and others not-so-necessary (like the rolling-a-make-believe-ball-into-a-peg-fame) pretty well. But, you would hope that one of the more basic features like the weather function would work better than it does. Sure, the icons are pretty and easy to understand. One of my favorites is the ambiguous sun-with-raindrops icon, so you know that it's supposed to rain and be sunny, right.... The forecasts are not detailed, and have questionable accuracy at best. I've been noticing this trend for months now, but this should't be the case as weather forecasting and even simple reporting is going to get more relevant as weather (i.e., global warming) becomes a greater and more pernicious factor in our lives (think about it: tornadoes in the midwest that have record wind speeds, snow in the Dakotas in late April, hurricanes that wipe out countries).

As such, because the interface is simple and only provides basic forecasts and conditions, you would hope that the iPhone weather feature would be at least accurate. Think again. I've seen it almost everywhere I travel. Today, for example, for San Francisco it says it's cloudy, when it's sunny. It said it was 61 degrees when it was 51 degrees (earlier it said it was sunny when it was cloudy). In Australia, I remember the forecast being sun and rain on alternating days. In reality, it was exactly the opposite. Same was true for Hawaii. Same for Iowa. So, as Apple's engineers work on the next 3G iPhone (or would-be SDK iPhone app folks toil away for current iPhones) I can only hope they can improve upon the weather feature.

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About the author

    Kevin Ho is an attorney living in San Francisco. He's from Iowa originally where he got his first Atari computer when he was little and remembers using the Apple IIGS. He is PC-user but secretly a Mac person in the closet as evidenced by many an iPod cluttering his desk drawers. He'll be writing about his experience with the iPhone. Disclosure.

     

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