Scrolling in the rain.
Daisy Alioto on the humble iOS weather app.
Who animates the iPhone clouds? I wonder as they slowly drift behind the temperature on my weather app. It’s dusk and the iPhone clouds are glowing pink, as lively and sublime as an Impressionist painting.
“Now I wish it rained and snowed more often just so I could enjoy the animation,” laments one Mac forum user. “Just add London or some other city where it rains all the time to check the weather 😂,” suggests another.
As a practice, I never delete a city I visit from the weather app unless forced to. (The app is limited to 20.) Today, it is partly cloudy in Choeng Thale and Tbilisi, tiny stars twinkling behind a gray curtain. In Budapest, it is a clear night, the developer has added shooting stars in both directions. Princeton is on severe thunderstorm watch, a prism of light circling the sun.
It is fun to revisit memories this way, a digital stamp in my weather passport, where everything can be contained in a forecast and Stockholm sits between Vilnius and London by sheer chance. It has also been a way to feel close to people I love while traveling, to know whether it is raining where they are.
As with most technology, this is artistry by committee. There is no Thomas Cole waiting in the wings. But someone has to animate the stars, to decide when to streak one across the screen–to play god in our pockets. — Daisy Alioto