App Appeal: Spruce up the weather and record your sleep-talk

Solar is a pretty minimalist weather app. Credit: Provided
Solar is a pretty minimalist weather app.
Credit: Provided

Solar
Platform: iOS
Price: Free

Weathertron
Platform: iOS
Price: 99 cents

Meteorology is not a science — or not a very good one. More often than not this works in our favor. Doppler Radar systems regularly go Chicken Little, predicting storms and thunder that never materialize. But even a confident 0% chance of rain in no ways means there won’t be a freak torrent that soaks us down to the bone like a wet dog.

And yet as nervous smartphone users, we remain tethered to meteorology, on the off chance they’re right. The weather app that comes with most smartphones is garbage, lacking anything beyond highs and lows over the week. And even the trusty Weather Channel app can be a bit meat and potatoes. Sometimes we desire form over functionality. Or more likely, we desire both.

If you like a lot of form and just enough functionality to get by, then Solar is your man. Attractive minimalism is its bread and butter, with wallpaper whose colors reflect what it’s like outside. Scrolling downward allows one to see future weather. When rain is due, tiny drops beautifully fall from the top. It switches between cities more smoothly than Weather Channel’s app, too. It’s an app for people who live very much in the now, which is to say it only offers weather into the next three days. It moves so gracefully because it has so little on its plate.

Weathertron tries to balance cold stats with design, and though it could be softer on the eyes, you’ll wind up more in the know. The format divides things in two: temperatures on the bottom, precipitation up top, with a bar that can be dragged laterally to see what lays ahead. It’s not pretty like Solar, but you’ll have a better clue of what your week, and not just semi-immediate future, has in store. Then again, how often is meteorology right anyway?

Sleep Talk Recorder
Platform: iOS
Price: 99 cents

Humans are rarely more creative than when we’re sleeping, and it’s downright cruel that it’s so often difficult to remember the dreams that so captivated us mid-REM stage. A relatively small percentage of us talk during our sleep, and though what we say may never give a full portrait of the insane things our brains feed us, something is better than nothing. Sleep Talk Recorder is simple: Set your phone near your head, press the green button to record and, after a half-hour, it will pick up and attempt to translate anything that comes out of your mouth as you imagine yourself flying, falling off a building or making out with a famous historical figure. Better yet: use it on loved ones and gain unique, horrific insights into their subconscious.


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