Third-party app on the Robocat thermometer
While preparing my review of the Robocat Thermodo, the tiny air thermometer for your iPhone, I really struggled to find a third party app compatible with the gadget. While this app by simonbs allows your Mac to recognise a Thermodo on the headphone jack to display current temperature on the menubar, I couldn't find any app for the iPhone.
Only when I was going through my first or second draft I decided to try once more. That's when I found a small team of Scandinavian developers, Henri Normak and Simon Gustavsson, who just added Thermodo support for their weather app Shade. Of course I had to download it and see how the Robocat API for Thermodo is implemented here.
Dubbed the "weather app for all of us", Shade tries to simplify the usual overdose of meteorological data focusing on the two elements we care most about: temperature and rain. Plotting two lines in parallel for both elements is an approach we have seen in other weather apps such as Weather Line. The twist here is a scrubbing-like mechanic where you can drag your finger across a timeline of the day and see the expected forecast for a particular time. Other unusual gestures include tapping and holding on the far right to access the weekly forecast view.
The most prominent design element when you launch the app is the use of colour in contrast with text and icons in white. Background colour is used to represent warmth of day, although the colour coding is not something that immediately makes sense to me. Adding a second city may or may not give you another range of colour, in what will be an interface with a very simple palette. The app also uses Notification Center to alert you of weather changes.
When it comes to the use of the Thermodo thermometer, the implementation is quite simple. Simply plug the device on your iPhone's headphone jack, launch the app and accept access to the microphone — there will be a system message asking you to authorise this. Shade will take the readings from the Thermodo and substitute them for the standard calculation on "feels like", giving you the real temperature reading where you are now compared to the forecast you see in big type. Once the Thermodo is recognised, the icon will change to a tiny Thermodo glyph, which I found very cute.
The developer explains how this data can be combined with more general meteorological predictions and still makes sense:
Shade displays Thermodo reading only under the current location, where it replaces the usually derived “feels like” temperature. We felt this was the best fit as your reading might not represent the predicted weather of the location, but it does best represent the actual temperatures experienced.
With the limited suite of apps compatible with Thermodo at the time of this writing, it's nice to see an app like Shade integrate this information without trying to be a replacement thermometer app. In a crowded space such as Weather apps on the App Store, this kind of functionality could help Shade and other developers to stand out from the crowd and gain some visibility. There are opportunities for cross-promotion on the free Thermodo app for iOS, so keep checking for more new ideas there on how to take advantage of your new Kickstarter gadget.