The world of connected things keeps growing. The AcuRite Pro Weather Center with AcuLink Remote Monitoring and App (US$199.99) is an Internet-connected weather station that just so happens to have its own iPhone app for keeping an eye on your home weather conditions even when you're away. This review is aimed more at the app and connectivity features of this device, but you'll learn a bit about the actual weather station as well.
I have to admit that this is about the most unique item I've ever written a review about for TUAW, but the Pro Weather Center is truly an Apple-compatible accessory. The device is actually made up of three major components: a 5-in-1 sensor that is mounted outside, an Internet bridge, and an LCD display that provides a constant readout of conditions and forecasts.
The sensor features many of the things you'd associate with a weather station -- a cup anemometer, a rainfall sensor, a thermometer, a wind direction vane, and a hygrometer for measuring humidity. It's constructed of a solid polycarbonate and should last for years. The station is powered by four AA batteries augmented by a small photovoltaic panel during daylight hours.
Inside the house and up to 300 feet away is the Internet bridge, a small
Wi-Fi radio device operating on the 433 MHz spectrum that is plugged into your router. The bridge is set to one of three channels (A, B, or C) selected on the sensor as well, and literally requires no setup other than being plugged into power and Ethernet, and then pushing a "Register" button for three seconds.
The final piece is really the icing on the cake if you're using the iPhone app for monitoring -- it is the "tabletop display console," an attractive battery-powered,
Wi-Fi connected backlit LCD panel that displays all the various weather readings.
The Pro Weather Center does require some setup work, as the sensor must be mounted in a location that's not blocked from free exposure to wind and rain. For about $20, I purchased galvanized metal pipe pieces that worked perfectly to form a sturdy mount placing the sensor about 7 feet above ground level. The sensor must be aligned so that it points due south, both for wind direction accuracy and to receive the maximum sunlight on the photovoltaic panel.