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Apple Acquires Dark Sky Weather Service and App

Apple has acquired hyperlocal weather company Dark Sky. We’ve long been fans of both the Dark Sky app itself, available for iOS and on the Web (see “Dark Sky 5 Offers Hyperlocal Weather Forecasts for iOS,” 7 August 2015), and apps powered by the Dark Sky API (see “CARROT Weather Predicts Cloudy with a Chance of Snark,” 22 January 2018). Dark Sky’s data stands out because it can accurately warn of rain and other inclement weather minutes before it happens.

Dark Sky's announcement of the Apple acqusition

While we hope this acquisition will give the iPhone’s built-in Weather app and Siri’s weather forecasts a much-needed boost, there are some unfortunate side effects of the Apple acquisition:

  • Unsurprisingly, the Android and Wear OS apps are no longer available to download. They will continue to work until 1 July 2020, and existing subscribers will receive refunds.
  • Apple plans to cut off the Dark Sky API at the end of 2021, which is bad news for the many weather apps that rely on Dark Sky’s excellent data.
  • The Dark Sky Web site will continue to offer forecasts, weather maps, and embeds until 1 July 2020, but will remain active after that to support the API and iOS app.

However, the Dark Sky iOS app will remain available to purchase and continue to work, at least until Apple builds its functionality into iOS.

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Comments About Apple Acquires Dark Sky Weather Service and App

Notable Replies

  1. I’ve wondered about this and thought the only use is the great local updates ‘rain ending in ten minutes’ that Dark Sky does.

    Then as I watched my dynamic desktop change to a sunny mid-afternoon lighting, I thought what if the desktop version got as local, what if the clouds shifted in or rain came. Who knows what’s next…

  2. There is a desktop version of Dark Sky? I don’t remember seeing that when I looked awhile back, and I ended up tapping into a local weather station for menubar temp and wind.

    Diane

  3. There is a web version - https://darksky.net/forecast/54.2326,-8.3/us12/en

    I suspect i wasn’t clear, I was referring to the dynamic desktop, the background of the finder which changes according to time of day. Apple could perhaps expand this to include local weather…

  4. Here in the Bay Area I’ve never felt Apple’s weather forecast was inaccurate compared to DarkSky (that I also use a lot).

    Instead my main issue has been that the bundled iOS weather app does not have any way (at least that I’ve found) to force it to update. Every once in a while it will just be stuck really long on obviously outdated forecast data (or location). Launching maps sometimes gets the weather app to update its location data. Sometimes it doesn’t. Since Apple stubbornly refuses to add a refresh button, more often than not I find myself nuking the entire weather app just to get it to finally update. Doesn’t feel very 2020 to me.

  5. Partially my fault, I still on Sierra/High Sierra! I didn’t know there was such a thing, although I do use f.lux

    Like Simon, I’ve had to occasionally force quit Weather on my phone since it wasn’t updating correctly. Doesn’t happen often though.

    Diane

  6. Uh, there is an Apple weather app? The only “weather” icon I have is from Weather Channel. Is that the Apple-supplied app? I use other apps - radar, the NOAA website.

  7. The one on my phone is Apple-supplied and it does say The Weather Channel” in the lower left.

    It has its issues though, I can stand next to my SO and we will get different temps using the same location services, on the same network.

    Diane

  8. Dark Sky is highly regarded for its hyperlocal forecasts, something that the Weather Channel, and concurrently Apple Weather, have not been very good at. This is good enough reason for Apple to buy it, but I think there are other factors involved.

    The Weather Channel has been the source of Apple’s Weather App for the past 10 years or so.

    I’ve never been clear about wether or not Apple shared location data with the service. Even though The Weather Channel’s app is totally separate from Apple’s Weather, I assume they don’t, but even so, a privacy oriented company would not have been at all happy about this:

    And owning a weather forecasting app could be a big benefit for Apple’s not so secret autonomous vehicle efforts for consumer and commercial vehicles, as well as public transportation.

  9. The confusion might be related to iPhone vs. iPad. The former has a stock weather app from Apple, the latter doesn’t.

  10. If you’re concerned about forecast accuracy, in most locales your local ABC/CBS/NBC TV station’s news app, which typically includes the local weather forecast or they may have their own specific weather app, will be more accurate than the default Weather app or other apps that don’t account for local geography and conditions, especially once you get beyond a 1 or 2 day forecast. In my experience this is true for Dark Sky as well, which I also have.

  11. For years both the Apple Weather and the Weather Channel website never got the neighborhood I live in right. They wouldn’t even geolocate me in a nearby neighborhood, and it’s been the same for people I know who live near me. I guess there was a lot of complaints about it because they recently started identifying New Yorkers by borough. They get that one right, but it could be snowing in the south side and sunny in the north.

  12. This is laughable, at least in my area. The nearest TV stations are 50 miles away and their forecasts are for the big city. We have lots of microclimates here (Oregon) and even 5 miles away the weather can be completely different.

    Dark Sky is amazingly accurate. You put in your exact street address (not just city) and it can predict rain to within minutes. I use it to know when I can take out the garage, walk the dog, or get the mail without getting wet.

  13. I live about 6 miles away from AccuWeather’s world headquarters in State College, PA. There’s a reason why I call it “InAccuWeather”… Often they simply don’t update. Just before taking the dog out this afternoon I checked it to see what the temperature was, and it was reading 15 degrees too low (showing this morning’s temperature at about 9 am).

    I generally trust WeatherUnderground and Carrot, but also use DarkSky quite a bit.

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