It’s Always Sunny in Cupertino

My favourite weather app is WeatherPro, from Germany. It isn’t the prettiest – apps like Weathergraph have better widgets for the iPhone and Apple Watch – but in my experience it reflects the UK’s changeable weather best of all:

WeatherPro, showing the forecast for today (Thursday 21st July) and the next three days

If I look at the icons alone, today in Edinburgh is somewhat sunny, tomorrow is a bit rainy, Saturday is like today, and Sunday is a classic mix of sun, rain, and thunder.

The forecast has been correct for today, at least: as far as I could tell, there wasn’t a drop of rain. Maybe there was rain somewhere in Edinburgh, but it was a nice and sunny day overall.

Apple thinks differently:

Apple Weather’s forecast

According to Apple’s weather icons, every day is the same: rainy. Yes, they all have different likelihoods of rain, but it gets boiled down to “rainy”. Apparently if there is just the chance of a drop of rain, Apple thinks that day is a total washout.

Maybe that’s true in Cupertino! Maybe the risk of a single drop is enough to change your behaviour for the whole day – you’ll carry an umbrella, you’ll cancel the barbecue, you won’t hang up the washing outside (lol, I know you can’t do that in the US).

But that’s not how it feels in the UK. If a day is mostly sunny with fifteen minutes of light rain in the afternoon, that’s a sunny day. It’s not a rainy day.

BBC Weather agrees with WeatherPro:

BBC Weather’s forecast

Today is cloudy, tomorrow is rainy, Saturday is the same as today, Sunday is sunny and thundery. Not bad, as you’d expect for a weather forecast designed for Brits! It fails to reflect the fact that today was fairly sunny, but never mind.

And to hammer the point home, Google agrees with Apple:

Google’s weather forecast

Rainy, rainy, rainy, and rainy.

What’s the moral of the story? It’s not just that weather patterns vary around the world, it’s that perceptions of weather also vary. A weather forecast that uses icon classifications designed by Californians is useless for anyone in the UK, and likely many other countries.

The fact it’s so bad in the year of our lord 2022 demonstrates just how little Apple and Google care about the rest of the world.

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