Mobile development house Hollr follows up last year's GO HD, a GPS-based app that lets users explore a new dimension of their neighborhood in real time by posting pictures and videos of their daily activities while neighbors do the same. This month the company distinguishes itself yet again with Solar, a simple and visually appealing weather app that turns checking the forecast into a surprisingly enjoyable experience. In the onslaught of recent apps designed to reveal the climate's intentions for the day, Solar outranks its competitors by shying away from complex interfaces and confusing vector polygons and instead chooses to make high design a priority by sticking to the basics.
The rain-or-shine experience begins by selecting a city of origin, and Solar lets you view the weather for up to four destinations simultaneously with an intuitive double tap or pinch—a winning feature for travelers. The true genius behind the app's design reveals itself once you hone in on a single location, with a home screen that displays on the time, date, weather condition (rainy, sunny, partly cloudy) and temperature in the upper lefthand corner while a beautiful, hyper-sensorial colorscape fills the background in gradient hues that reflect the time of day. When applicable, an understated animation will fill the display with soft raindrops, dewy fog or snowflakes, but Hollr's take on this now-standard weather app feature doesn't go over the top.
Solar's most winning element comes in the form of its 24-hour forecast: scrolling up prompts the appearance of a simple clock in the screen's upper righthand corner, its hands advancing through the day as your finger moves northward. The time, date and weather update in corresponding real time as the hours flash by and the aurora-like background undergoes a series of dazzling changes in color combinations. The effect is pleasantly subtle, giving you a more artistic vision of what the day has in store. In the other direction, swiping down brings a three-day forecast into view at the top of the screen, while swiping left-to-right allows you to sift between chosen cities.
Hollr's newest creation wins out with its minimalist design and unwillingness to burden users with unnecessary information. Though the app doesn't delve into the technical information required by a sailor or mountain climber, it emerges as the perfect digital addition to any city dweller's cadre of innovative, simplified applications.
Solar is available for 99¢ in the iTunes App Store.