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How the new iPhones could help scientists predict the weather

Nancy Gohring | Sept. 23, 2014
The new iPhones have an added capability that's of particular interest to scientists: A barometer.

Mass has high hopes for broad adoption. He's reached out to Google about building technology into Android that would help capture pressure data from all phones. While a number of Google engineers have been "supportive," Google doesn't appear ready to enable such collection, he said.

Mass also notes that if a very popular app like from the Weather Channel built this capability into its app, far more data collection could happen.

Until then, Sheehy hopes that inviting iPhone users to get the app might significantly grow the user base. So far, it's been tough for people to share the app with friends since existing users are limited to Android and to only certain Android phones. At some point, presumably all iPhones will have barometers, adding a large base of potential users.

In addition, there's just something about Apple. "Apple has a way of making things mainstream, so I expect to see a much fuller and more competitive landscape now that Apple is here," Sheehy said.


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