Apple's acquisition of Dark Sky is good and bad — here's why

Best Apple Watch apps
Best Apple Watch apps (Image credit: iMore)

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.

Apple Weather Dark Sky Concept (Image credit: Parker Ortolani)

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

Apple buys popular weather app, Dark Sky — Android app will shut down (Image credit: Joseph Keller/iMore)

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.

Luke Filipowicz
Staff Writer

Luke Filipowicz has been a writer at iMore, covering Apple for nearly a decade now. He writes a lot about Apple Watch and iPad but covers the iPhone and Mac as well. He often describes himself as an "Apple user on a budget" and firmly believes that great technology can be affordable if you know where to look. Luke also heads up the iMore Show — a weekly podcast focusing on Apple news, rumors, and products but likes to have some fun along the way. 

Luke knows he spends more time on Twitter than he probably should, so feel free to follow him or give him a shout on social media @LukeFilipowicz.