The Weather Channel has turned to both artificial intelligence and augmented reality to improve the way users engage with its forecasts in its iPhone weather app.
The new iOS app includes personalization features and will soon have the ability to overlay the latest weather data on an AR view of the world around you — perfect for seeing wind speed during a round of golf.
When in the AR mode you will get a 360-degree view of how weather phenomena are impacting the world. This includes rain, wind and UV data live from the Weather Channel forecasts.
AR functionality will only available on the iPhone when it launches. There is an iPad version of the app that includes smart weather features and personalization. There is no Vision app yet as they need more time to test its functionality.
What does the new Weather Channel app offer?
The iPhone update for The Weather Channel app incorporates the usual forecast data with user input and feedback through an onboarding screen that asks you questions about your interests and lifestyle.
This data is used to power new Today and This Week forecasts that are tailored to what is happening in your life and in your area in that given moment.
For example, if you plan to go hiking to a particular location the app can provide information on the usual weather conditions but also those tailored to you — such as skin health or breathing issues to help you pick the best time to go hiking and mitigate your symptoms.
The Weather Channel app also offers weather data on things like humidity, smoke, pollen, heat and air quality and tips on how to mitigate their impact on your body.
How does the AR feature work?
We’ve seen a lot about augmented and virtual reality recently with the launch of the Apple Vision Pro, overlaying digital data on the real world. While there is no dedicated Weather Channel app for the Vision Pro this gives you some insight into what it might look like.
When you open the AR feature you’ll be able to select from common data points including UV index, wind speed, precipitation, wind direction and snowfall.
Any one or more of these points can then be displayed in full 360-view giving you direct information on how, for example, wind speed changes in any part of your view.
One use case for this is being able to adjust your golf swing in response to live data on the latest wind speed and direction or pick the best spot on the beach to reduce burning risk.
Climate change and safety
In addition to creating a more engaging way to see what is happening outside, The Weather Channel says the new app is also designed to help people prepare for severe weather events as the climate continues to change.
They predict that extreme weather could cost the global economy $5 trillion over the next five years, and lead to some areas becoming dangerous for humans unless they take mitigating steps before venturing outside.
“Our mission has always been to help keep people safe and help them lead better lives. In our forty-year history, weather has never been more impactful and therefore never more important to consumers and businesses,” said Sheri Bachstein, CEO of The Weather Company, the IBM-owned company behind The Weather Channel.
“Our transformed app will set a new standard for what people can and should expect from their weather provider, whether it is getting ahead of a storm, planning a trip, understanding how air quality could affect your health, or simply deciding when to go for a hike."