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Aelios is a new way to get the weather on your iPad

Perhaps it's the fact that summer is just around the corner in the Northern Hemisphere, but lately we've been seeing a lot of interesting weather apps for iOS and OS X. A new iPad app called Aelios Weather (available at a special launch price of US$2.99) is a refreshingly unique take on getting the weather info you need.

On-screen, you see what looks like a finely crafted piece of jewelry. You move this virtual instrument around the screen over a Google satellite map of the world. The app has a little animated pointer that locks onto the nearest weather station and gives you the current temperature, wind speed and direction. In a few seconds, icons appear and show you the forecast temperatures and winds for the next 24 hours. Changing a setting makes a multi-day forecast available for viewing.

The app can figure out your current location and display weather information for wherever you are. You can also search for any city in the world to see what the weather there is like. Midnight appears at the top of the dial, with noon at the bottom. As you push the instrument north, you can see night getting shorter as the days get longer; at least that's what happens in the Northern Hemisphere at this time of year.

Aelios Weather is an interesting idea for an app, and it is beautifully rendered. One of the developers, Mehdi Aminian, told me the idea was to make an app that was different and more functional than standard weather apps, so they included an atlas, time and weather information. It's fascinating to move the instrument around from low altitude to a nearby mountain top and watch the temperature and winds change.

There are some things missing in this app, at least from my perspective. You can't save locations, and it can be a bit of a chore moving the cursor around or re-typing a city name. I'd like to see humidity, dew point and more details on cloud cover. There is only one data supplier: the Norwegian Meteorological Institute. While the data seemed quite accurate, the developers say they will likely offer more options for where the weather info comes from.

Aelios Weather is quite interesting and a pleasure to use. You can get a good idea of how it works by looking at this YouTube video. I'd like to see more information displayed, but I like the app and think it will continue to improve. Aelios Weather requires an iPad running iOS 4.3 or newer. If you know of some other unique iPad weather apps that are worth a look, feel free to chime in with a comment.

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