When Apple's acquisition of Dark Sky was first announced, I was initially delighted. Being a Canadian, I never got to use Dark Sky daily, but I was always envious of the hyper-localized weather data it provided. Hearing that Apple has purchased Dark Sky immediately made me think of how much better the Apple Weather app could become, perhaps even as early as iOS 14, and I'm not the only one.
It didn't take long for someone to come up with a really cool concept for what a new and improved weather app could look like now that Dark Sky has joined the Apple ranks.
It looks great, and I, for one, would be ecstatic for Apple to do this. The idea that the Apple Weather app could become this localized across the world is a wonderful thing — but there are two sides to every story.
Why Dark Sky getting bought by Apple is bad
Firstly, the Android app is shutting down on July 1, 2020. As someone who hasn't used Android since Jelly Bean was the newest version, this doesn't affect me, but I know it will affect a lot of people. This isn't the first time Apple has bought an app or a service rolled it into iOS and then stopped support — Texture is a perfect example.
The "Netflix-style" magazine app was bought up and then rolled into iOS in the form of Apple News+, the Android app and iOS app were both shut down, and subscriptions were canceled and refunded where appropriate. Now, it's easy to shrug your shoulders, throw up your hands, and say something about how there are other weather apps, but it's not that simple.
API is eventually shutting down
Lots of really great weather apps use Dark Sky's API — essentially the data Dark Sky collects — and the end of 2021 that API will no longer be accessible. That's a huge blow to great apps like CARROT and Appy weather, and while they have ample time to find replaceable API to use, what they do end up using my not be as good or as detailed. This move has the potential to make a lot of apps a lot less appealing or useful to users.
Anything can happen
It's not all doom and gloom; lots can happen with the acquisition. It could be as simple as Apple's Weather app getting a huge makeover and pushing worldwide, which would be great, but doesn't solve the API issue. Maybe, just maybe, Apple will release its API once it has Dark Sky incorporated into iOS, and developers will be able to use that data. That would require Apple to loosen some restrictions on its "walled garden" approach to iOS a little bit, but we have seen Apple being willing to remove some barriers in recent years.
Of course, some people are speculating that Apple could launch an "Apple Weather+" subscription that would give you access to more weather data and give you the hyper-localized updates that Dark Sky used to provide. I'm certainly less thrilled about that idea, and it's way too early to speculate that this is a move Apple would make, but anything can happen.
For now, if you use Dark Sky and have an Android phone, there are still a lot of weather apps you can use instead. Only time will tell what will happen to the apps that run off the Dark Sky API, but one thing's for sure, Dark Sky will be missed by lots of people.