One of the most popular weather services around, Dark Sky, has been bought by Apple for an undisclosed fee. This acquisition is big news, surely set to change the landscape of weather apps everywhere over the coming year or two. Here’s what might change.
Apple will improve its Weather app
The stock iOS Weather app is fine, but there have long been better alternatives out there. Dark Sky has been consistently up there as one of the best third-party weather apps for years (we ranked it as an Essential App in 2019) so rolling its functionality into the Weather app would give Apple a big leg up in that department.
We don’t know exactly how things will change just yet, but it’s likely we’ll see Apple adopting popular Dark Sky features like real-time weather notifications and detailed weather maps. We could see these changes roll out as soon as iOS 14, but more likely Apple will take its time and hit us with a well-polished Weather update with next year’s iOS 15 instead.
Apple’s Weather app doesn’t currently run on iPad or Mac, but we’d bet any big changes would include an expansion to those platforms – especially as Dark Sky is already available on iPad and via web browser from a desktop computer.
Dark Sky will shut down
Of course, Apple wants Dark Sky’s features and data for itself – so the original Dark Sky app and its dependents will be phased out. In a blog post, Dark Sky’s developers say the iOS app will remain in place for the time being but other platforms will not.
Android users can still use the app for another three months, but after that it’ll be shut down – with paid users in line for a refund. The Dark Sky website will also keep running for just three months.
Other apps will have to change
Remember, Dark Sky isn’t just a Weather app – it’s also a popular data source in its own right. (And a very good one at that, so long as you live in the US or the UK).
Third-party apps that utilize Dark Sky’s weather data have until the end of 2021 to find an alternative data source. Most notably that means the popular CARROT Weather app will have to get its data elsewhere, but plenty of other apps also use Dark Sky’s API. Expect to see changes to many apps with a weather function over the next year or so as they change things up to compete.
For the majority of iPhone users, this is good news – it will make the free Weather app included with the device better than ever. But one thing’s for certain – it’s definitely going to shake up the competition!