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Get your current weather from Outside

Outside [iTunes link] is a new, personal weather app for the iPhone/iPod touch that provides a visual forecast with some paid options for push notifications. I like the idea of the app; it has some nice graphics and a fresh approach to weather information. The GUI is based on a metaphor of looking out a window: you can get the current conditions or a five-day forecast, if you want to glance into the future. For the relevant stats, like humidity, cloud cover and winds, you just flick up the screen, and it'll tell you everything you need to know.

The app also features an interesting pay model: when you buy the U.S $2.99 app, you get 30 days of push notifications for free. Then it's $0.99 for the notifications every three months. Notifications include letting you know if rain is in the forecast, the UV index when it goes above a set level, a warning if the temperature goes below your preference, and a notification that the weather is OK to wear a T-shirt.

There are a few things that would make this app better. First, it'd be nice to reduce the need to flick the screen so often. The five-day forecast could be placed on one page, not five. And the notifications are unique, but a bit strange. I'd much rather be notified of upcoming storm warnings rather than T-shirt weather, but there is no such option -- especially since the notifications are so pricey (getting them for a year costs more than the app itself), it'd be nice to have some more options. And if you want weather from a different location, you have to enter that location manually. There is no list of favorites.

I think weather junkies would be better off with the Weather Channel app [iTunes link], which is free, Weather Channel Max for $3.99 [iTunes link], or MyWeather [iTunes link] mobile which provides very detailed info for a one-time $4.99, and includes (free) push notifications for severe weather. There is some clever thinking behind Outside, and it's a fresh approach to a function that's seen its share of rainy days. But I wish it had more information on the individual screens, and it wasn't so expensive to get notifications.

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