It may look like a blizzard outside, but our apps this week seem to promise Spring weather just around the corner. Here’s my picks for Spring Training, Fido fitness, and emotional weather.
MLB.com At Bat 2013
Spring Training is approaching and so the MLB has given At Bat a fresh update, adding more free features and value beyond subscription services. You can now sort through statistics on batting, pitching, and fielding. A new video archive offers out-takes, extras, and clips from classic games, while new navigation tweaks make the app easier to navigate. You can pick out your favourite teams, so that all stats and new stories about them filter up to the top.
Paying $2.99 per month or $19.99 for the year will unlock the app’s main focus on offering live audio streams, in-game video highlights, and pitch-by-pitch data. To make paying a bit easier, you can also access the live audio feeds on other devices, PC and Mac computers included.
As the season gets underway, MLB promises to add even more features and content, so if paying has kept you away from At Bat before, the 2013 season upgrades make it now worth checking out for free.
Purina Pro Plan P5
A fitness tracker for dogs, Purina P5 will help you find suitable activities that meet your dog’s energy levels. Enter in the breed size and age of your dog, along with your own scheduling needs, and it will pull up a suggested list of fitness plans that cover aspects of agility, strength training, and motivation. Suggested activities can include running, diving and swimming, Frisbee catching, and obstacle course challenges.
There are videos describing each, but with the use of professional trainers and field gear, they can be a bit intimidating. Video instructions featuring a family in their yard performing these tasks with common items might have been more helpful.
An activity log will help you measure progress and unlock awards while added sections cover basic dog health questions and training techniques. There are now several, well-made dog training apps on the market and so it’s a smart move from Purina to be the first to tackle exercise.
The popularity of weather apps never seems to wane, even with hundreds of satisfying choices on the market. Most seem to offer the same information, just displayed with new creativity. Haze, which has enjoyed runaway popularity since its launch last week, falls into that category.
With Haze, weather as an audiovisual experience. It displays weather values like celestial discs in the sky. Colours match the temperature and time of day while animated ripples indicate trends of change towards the next day’s status.
There are three views, one for temperature, another for sunlight, and a third for precipitation. Tap any of these and the main icons will bloom a radial of other values covering UV ratings, wind speed, humidity and other factors.
Each comes with a related five-day forecast that you can cycle through just by tilting your phone, and with each tap of an icon, Haze plays an ambient tone, enough that, with practice, you could probably use the app to play a song.
The settings menu offers weather trivia along with the option to turn the sounds and experimental features off. There’s support for different themes, allowing you to swap out the ambient palette for others named “lemon”, “candy’, and “purple haze”.
Haze covers most of the weather data people want in an appealingly simple view, but with enhancements for mood and emotion that may not be to everyone’s taste. It certainly helps it stand out against the multitude of weather apps out there.